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Asthma in Babies Signs Symptoms and Treatment

Asthma in babies

Asthma In Babies

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Asthma in babies is a common lung disease that can cause inflammation of the bronchi and bronchioles, resulting in airflow obstruction, which may progress into a chronic or episodic disease with respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath. Accumulation of fluid within certain inflamed and easily collapsible airways, cause obstruction (narrowing) of the airways.[1]

Asthma in babies

Babies are not capable of expressing their feelings and worries. So, it is the responsibility of parents to keep an eye on them and make sure that they are breathing regularly and noiselessly. You should seek medical help immediately if complications develop or if symptoms are severe, it is important to see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis for the symptoms, as being diagnosed early means you will receive appropriate treatment. A pediatrician may be the first healthcare provider to diagnose a health problem in newborns. The condition may improve over time with regular medical check-ups (to detect health issues at an early stage), personal asthma action plan, proper education about asthma, and to take asthma medicines properly.[2][3][4]

What can cause asthma in babies?

asthma is a chronic form of bronchiolitis, in babies, asthma is mainly caused by an immune reaction to an allergen, such as dust, mold and pollen. Less commonly it can be caused by environmental pollutants, such as tobacco smoke, paint smell, etc.

What are the symptoms of asthma in babies?

How can you tell if your baby has asthma?

Asthma is different for each person and the individual episodes of asthmatic signs and symptoms may vary from one baby to another; however, the doctor must create an asthma action plan specifically tailored for the affected individual.[5][6][7]

Features and signs that increase the probability of asthma in babies include:

Tiredness and weakness, your child shows symptoms of fatigue or when the child doesn’t seem to have enough energy; However, hypotonia or infantile hypotonia may also present as muscle weakness.[8][9][10]

Tightened neck and chest muscles, often caused by histamine based bronchospasm and coughing. [1][11]

Shortness of breath.[12][13][14]

Chest retractions, or intercostal retractions are common among babies and children with the asthma, it occur when the muscles between the ribs pull inward when inhaling, sucking in the skin between or around the ribs of the thoracic cage. The movement is a sign that the baby has a breathing problem.[15][16][17]

Wheezing, when the baby makes clear wheezing noises when breathing (whistling sound); however, it is commonly accompanied by chest retractions and labored breathing.[1][18]

Chest congestion or tightness with pain, the baby may feel like something is sitting on his chest, which can lead to pain, difficulty breathing and impaired swallowing.[1]

Rapid breathing, when the baby’s breathing rate increases steadily to more than 70 breaths/minute, and keeps up.[19][20][21]

Chronic cough, a child with mild asthma may have an irritating, especially during the night, but coughing spells are often mild during the day. Moreover, some mucus may be brought up during a coughing spell.[1][22][23]

Diagnosis

How to diagnose asthma in babies?

Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to diagnose asthma in babies because symptoms and signs are often nonspecific; however, a combination of two or more symptoms may be useful in making the diagnosis, because some lung function tests such as spirometry are not usually performed on children younger than 6 years.[24][25][26]

The procedures outlined below are often used to aid in making the diagnosis of asthma in babies

Predicting and evaluating response to asthma medications, especially those that are often used for quick relief. To evaluate treatment response to inhaled beta-2 agonist bronchodilators or response to inhaled corticosteroids, which is the primary drug of choice to control the symptoms of chronic asthma.[27][28][29]

Clinical history and physical examination, for evaluating objective anatomic findings and tracing the historical evolution of current clinical condition. This diagnostic method is used in children over 6 months of age. [30][31][32]

How to treat asthma in babies?

What should I do if my child has an asthma attack?

The use of authentic asthma guidelines can improve outcomes for babies with asthma, as it was designed to reduce the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. Listed below an effective management strategy for controlling acute asthma in babies:

1- Identifying the responsible allergen or pathogen and avoiding any contact with it.

2- Proper medication administration, try to give medications at the same time every day.[35][36][37]

3- Keep an eye on the baby, and make sure to monitor the breathing mechanism periodically; however, a baby breathing monitor can be helpful in monitoring the breath rate of your sleeping baby. Moreover, it is important to keep your child away from areas that contain second and third hand smoke, and always try to smoke away from children.[38][39]

Proper medications can usually control symptoms and cut the risk of asthma attacks in babies. Children with confirmed diagnosis of asthma should receive a written asthma action plan from their GP to give them guidance on administering medicines properly. Moreover, this plan provides instructions on how to take preventative measures if the condition gets suddenly worse.[1]

Prognostic factors

What are the risk factors for asthma in babies?

Prognostic factors may increase the risk of asthma in babies, as they can play an important role in many of the pathways towards developing the disease. Some of these important prognostic factors are summarized below:

If you smoke around the child or if any friends or relatives who are smokers regularly hold your baby; however, If a mother continues to smoke after the baby is born, the baby is more likely to develop asthma or other pulmonary diseases.

Health risks of passive smoking, babies whose fathers and mothers smoke at the time of conception are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of second-hand smoke.[47]

Preterm or low-birth-weight babies

Genetic predisposition to asthma, if a child has a relative with asthma, eczema or dermatitis, he or she is four to five times more likely to develop asthma than a child who does not have a relative with asthma.[40][41][42]

Food intolerance, if the child has a food allergy, especially if the baby was allergic to cow’s milk.[43][44]

Damp and moist houses, damp houses have been proven beyond any doubt to cause asthma, especially among children.[1][45][46]

How can I prevent my baby from getting asthma?

There are many risk factors for developing asthma in childhood. However, changing the lifestyle of babies can reduce your baby’s risk of developing allergies and asthma. These steps can reduce your baby’s risk of developing asthma:

Reducing exposure to allergens, such as dust, pollen, etc. and use allergen impermeable covers on mattresses and pillows and wash bedding in boiling water at least twice a week

Keep indoor humidity below 50%

Quit smoking cigarettes, and don’t allow anyone to smoke in your house or anywhere near your toddler

 

 

References

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