We have all heard of Asthma, maybe even had someone close to us affected by the condition.
As a child you may remember a classmate in school having to carry an inhaler and couldn’t run in gym or go outside when it was cold. Asthma didn’t seem like a serious ailment and definitely not a life threatening condition back then; as long as the child had their inhaler it was fine, right? Well, sometimes the answers and treatment aren’t that easy, and the scary part is that it can be a life threatening condition for some people.
According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, “Childhood asthma (pediatric asthma) is the most common serious chronic disease in infants and children; yet is often difficult to diagnose.” Even the Ohio Department of Health and Children with Medical Handicaps has a certain set of criteria to be met for a diagnosis to be made. Despite the lengthy and involved diagnostic process; Asthma is still a pretty common condition affecting 25.7 million people, including 7 million children under the age of 18, according to the Center for Disease control.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition that makes it difficult to move air in and out of your lungs, according to the American Lung Association. This makes it a daily struggle to maintain an individual’s airway and breathing. Many people take daily medications to manage the inflammation. Despite the success of many medications, triggers such as allergies, smoke, cold or exercise might trigger a sudden increase in inflammation.
When the airways become inflamed the muscles surrounding the airways can also squeeze the airways. This combination of things can cause shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and anxiety. This is when a rescue inhaler medication is needed to rapidly open the airways immediately before the three-minute time limit runs out and brain damage and even death can occur.
As parents, we can help our children by educating ourselves on some of the warning signs prior to a diagnosis or attack. These include but are not limited to:
-Shortness of breath (inability to finish a sentence without breathing)
-Difficulty breathing (ribs sticking out while breathing, nostrils flaring, whistling sound during breathing)
If you suspect your child may be an asthmatic, please seek emergency help immediately and once stabilized and airways are open seek the guidance of an Allergist or Primary physician to assist in identifying triggers. Remember, sometimes a virus can trigger symptoms so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Asthma is an approved diagnosis for CMH and I would be more than happy to assist with the forms to move forward with additional health insurance for your child. You can reach me at the Meigs County Health Department Monday-Wednesday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. at (740) 992-6626 Ext: 1075
Angie Rosler is an RN at the Meigs County Health Department.