Asthma is the most common respiratory disorder of children. Incidences of asthma have increased dramatically over last few years. About 7% of children in UK have asthma related symptoms. Common symptoms of Asthma include:

  • Dry cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Nocturnal cough
  • Exercise induced cough and wheeze
  • Feeling of tightness in chest

Suggestions on how to reduce the effects of Asthma

Asthma is a clinical diagnosis. Some children with unusual symptoms or persistent symptoms require further investigations. A scientific review concluded that chemical and physical methods of house dust mite avoidance could not currently be recommended. However, some families are very committed to trigger avoidance and suggestions can include:

  • Complete bed-covering barrier systems.
  • Removing all carpets. Removing soft toys from bed
  • High temperature washing of bedlinen. Acaricides to soft furnishings.
  • Improving ventilation with or without dehumidification.
  • There are no controlled trials looking at removing domestic pets. There is varied anecdotal evidence with some experiencing no benefit on removing the pet and others, with continuing exposure to the pet, developing some tolerance. However, it seems sensible not to get a cat or dog if someone in the family already has asthma.
  • Dietary manipulation – studies looking at supplementation with vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and fish oil have not shown significantly beneficial effects.
  • There is insufficient evidence to recommend acupuncture, herbal or Chinese medicines, homoeopathy hypnosis or relaxation therapies.
  • Air ionisers offer no benefit to the treatment of asthma.
  • Smoking cessation advice to care givers and teenage asthmatics.
  • Direct or passive smoking reduces lung function and increases the need for rescue medication and long-term ‘preventer’ treatment.
  • Physical exercise therapy – may increase overall fitness but of no specific benefit to asthma.
  • Family therapy- where asthma is difficult to control, this may be a useful adjunct.
  • Patient/carer education with the aim of creating partnership with family and child and confident self-care.
  • Written asthma action plans for self-management lead to consistently improved outcomes.

Drug Treatment of Asthma

This is the mainstay of prevention and treatment of Asthma. It consists of reliever medications and preventer mediations. Reliever medications are usually colour coded Blue and are given as and when required. Preventer medications are usually colour coded brown and are used regularly twice a day to prevent attacks of asthma. You will be given written instructions for the use of these inhalers and shown the correct technique for the use of these inhalers.