Can Children With Asthma Outgrow the Condition?
One half or more of children with asthma outgrow the condition. Those with more severe disease are more likely to have asthma as adults. Asthma flare-ups can often be prevented by avoiding whatever triggers a particular child’s attacks. Parents of children with allergies usually are advised to remove feather pillows, carpets, drapes, upholstered furniture, stuffed toys, and other potential sources of dust and allergens from the child’s room. Secondhand tobacco smoke often worsens symptoms in children with asthma. If a particular allergen cannot be avoided, a doctor may try to desensitize the child using allergy shots, although the benefits of allergy shots for asthma are not well known. Doctors usually do not recommend that a child should avoid exercise, but rather use an asthma drug immediately before exercising if needed.
Older children or adolescents known to have asthma often use a peak flow meter-a small device that records how fast a person can blow out air-to measure the degree of airway obstruction. This measurement can be used as an objective assessment of the child’s condition.
Treatment of an acute asthma attack consists of opening me airways (bronchodilation) and stopping inflammation, A variety of inhaled drugs open the airways like bronchodilators. Typical examples are Albuterol and ipratropiuin. Older children and adolescents usually can take these drugs using a metered-dose inhaler. Children younger than 8 years or so often find it easier to use an inhaler with a spacer or holding chamber attached. Infants and very young children sometimes can use an inhaler and spacer if an infant-sized mask is attached. Those who cannot use inhalers may receive inhaled drugs at home through a mask connected to a nebulizer, a small device that creates a mist of drug using compressed air.
Inhalers and nebulizers are equally effective at delivering the drug. Albuterol also can be taken by mouth, although this route is less effective than inhalation and is usually used only in infants who do not have a nebulilizer. Children with moderately severe attacks a may be given corticosteroids by mouth.