Are You a Smart Mother or is Your Child Missing Out on the Good Things of Life?
It's natural for growing children to get a cough and chest congestion once in a while. But if your child has a cough which comes again and again, what do you do about it?
For each question, please answer yes or no.
- Do you restrict what your child eats - no cold items like ice cream or curd, no spicy food, no soft drinks - because you think these things can make him start coughing?
- Do you make him wear a vest or a sweater even when it's not really cold - and let him have a bath only once in a while, not daily - because you think he has a weak chest and gets a cough easily?
- Has he often missed school because he woke up at night coughing, and was still coughing in the morning, and so you didn't send him?
- Does he start coughing and sometimes get breathless when he runs, or when he does PT in school?
- Is he sick and tired of all the cough syrups and tablets that you keep giving him to treat his cough?
Leading child specialists say that childhood asthma can be controlled easily and successfully, but it's important to clear your doubts before starting your child's treatment. So here are answers to some questions that parents frequently ask.
Many people think that someone who has asthma is breathless all the time. That's not so. In children, the most common symptom of asthma is not breathlessness but a recurrent cough which keeps coming back.
Many children who have asthma are fortunate that they have never suffered an asthma attack. But if asthma is not treated properly, there is a much greater chance of suffering an attack. That's why, you should start your child's treatment at the earliest.
With the right kind of treatment, it is both easy and successful. Successful means that you should expect nothing less than a normal and active life for your child: he should be playing actively, sleeping peacefully without being woken up by coughing, attending school regularly, and there should be no restrictions on what he can eat.
So, of course, you want to know what is the right treatment? It is to control asthma with the help of an inhaler. That's a pocket-sized device through which your child can inhale asthma medicine directly into his lungs, to stop the coughing and help him to breathe better.
You surely want your child to take the smallest amount of medicine which will be effective, and in the safest way. For this, an inhaler is better than tablets or syrups. Because the inhaler delivers a very small amount of medicine, and it is highly effective, since it goes straight to the lungs where it is needed. In a tablet or syrup, the amount of medicine is much larger - it could be 10 to 20 times more than in the inhaler! And because it travels all around the body to reach the lungs, it can cause more side effects.
An inhaler is actually a very logical way to give asthma medicine. Just like putting skin ointment directly on the skin or eye drops in the eyes.
Inhalers have been around for over 30 years, and they have a solid record of safety and effectiveness with millions of patients worldwide. That's why, doctors confidently prescribe inhalers even for pregnant women and infant children.
Some children who have mild asthma do grow out of it. But we don't know exactly why, or exactly which child will do that. So even if your child has mild asthma, don't let it get worse. Start the right treatment as soon as possible, ensure that you follow the doctor's advice, and take your child for regular check-ups. So that he can enjoy a normal, active childhood.