Asthma is one of the most common chronic illnesses in children in Germany and usually begins around the age of four. An age in which the little patients still need the whole family as a motivation aid. Here a balance should be found between a very consistent, but also natural way of dealing with the disease.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease with an onset of coughing and dyspnoea. The reason for this is an inflammation of the bronchial mucosa - caused by viral infections of the respiratory tract or allergic reactions to certain substances. In a seizure, there is a spasmodic constriction of the bronchi, the inflamed bronchial mucosa increases mucus. In turn, it blocks the bronchi.
Recognize asthma in the child
It may not be easy to see if a child has asthma. Especially very young children can still hard to explain what exactly they are suffering from. The following symptoms may give a hint:
- heaped colds that only slowly fade away
- the child is tired
- long-lasting coughing in the night without a cold
- Coughing during exercise, laughing, air pollution (such as cigarette smoke, car exhaust fumes), cold weather or fog
- whistling or humming noises while breathing.
Important: If you suspect allergies, you should always see a doctor with your child. Untreated, they can go into a chronic state. Not infrequently, a so-called floor change takes place. This refers to the transition from one type of allergy to the next. A typical case is the change from a hay fever disease (nose) to asthma (bronchi).
Asthma: How do I motivate my child?
Caring for a child suffering from allergies represents a considerable burden for the whole family and demands a lot of consistency from the carers - and occasionally against the child's resistance. Because this does not always see why it must take its medication, inhale and perform the regular measurements.
Remember, every child wants to be as "normal" as possible and treated "like the others". It can permanently perceive the disease as an exclusion. Tips:
- Do not put the sick child too much in the center of the family event, otherwise it feels even more impaired. This weakens his stamina and his resilience. In addition, a so-called disease gain can set in: the child learns that it gets a lot of attention in the event of a seizure and uses it consciously.
- Clarify your child in detail about all treatment measures and consequences. Thereafter, you should remain calm and consistent in all therapeutic actions and not engage in evasive and delaying tactics. This helps the child to accept the incontrovertibility and self-evident nature of the measure.
- Do not swear if your child deliberately did not shun the trigger (s) of his allergy and gets a seizure. It is punished enough and will learn from this incident by itself. Strengthen your self-confidence, so that it learns to deal with the disease on its own responsibility. This includes, for example, that the child performs as many hand movements as possible during therapy. Do not forget an occasional (!) Praise.
Inhale: Helpful, but unpopular
One of the most popular therapies is not inhaling. Above all, if the complaints are just low, the motivation to cooperate is often not too high. If the children are still very small, they may be afraid of the device. Then they should try to include it in a game or give the device a funny name. It may be helpful to display the inhalation time by a funny animal alarm clock (the muht or cackle). Older children can be read aloud during inhalation or play a quiet game.
If a child is unable to exercise for regular inhalation, it may be able to switch to a metered dose inhaler at the appropriate age. Ask your doctor about this.
Control the success: the peak flow measurement
An easy way to control the success of asthma therapy is the so-called peak flow measurement. It measures the volume of air exhaling (in liters per minute). The higher the exhalation volume, the better. Because that means the bronchi are wide.
Again, try to find a playful use of the device and let the child handle the device as independently as possible. Do not just use it to control the intake of medication, but integrate it into positive experiences. If, for example, the values in sports improve more and more, this gives the child an enormous sense of achievement.
Helpful adjunctive therapy for asthma
In addition to drug therapy, there are a number of alternative treatments in asthma treatment that support the treatment. Especially for children - in contrast to drug therapy - they enable a much more active treatment of the disease.
- Climate change: Actually, no problem, to spend the family holiday in a climate zone that does the child well, for example, sea air, high mountains or desert climate. It benefits not only from the allergen-free, but also from the stimulating climate.
- Respiratory Therapy: It is mainly used to train the respiratory muscles in allergic asthma. The children (from preschool age) also learn to help themselves in an asthma attack. Physically, by taking a breathing-facilitating postures or use the so-called lip brake exhale. The right breathing technique can also help reduce anxiety in the onset.
- Relaxation methods: In small asthmatics, the psyche plays a major role, because mental stress can trigger asthma attacks or negatively influence the course of the disease. Relaxation techniques like autogenic training or progressive muscle relaxation can help here.
- Training: There are also special training programs for asthmatic children from preschool age. They are offered by allergy and asthma clinics and Allergieambulanzen and provide extensive knowledge and self-reliance on the disease.
Asthma and sports
Frequently, children suffering from asthma are exempted from physical education, although this is not absolutely necessary. On the contrary: The treatment also includes increasing the condition. Because regular training improves the lung function and thereby also decreases the threshold for the occurrence of an asthma attack.
Prerequisite for participation, however, is that the attending physician gives his consent and the child is well-adjusted with his medication. In addition, it should always have its emergency medications. It makes sense if the parents have a conversation with the supervising teacher about what to do in an emergency.
Farewell to the animal friend?
Again, what applies to all triggers: Only the consistent renunciation of contact can help. As hard as it is safe: If an animal hair allergy was identified as the cause of asthma, the corresponding animal should not be kept in the household. If the child absolutely does not want to part with the animal, there is still the possibility to keep it exclusively outside, which is possible for example with dogs and cats. So you can reduce the contact to a minimum.
Prevent asthma attacks
In addition to environmental stress, physical exertion and viral infections, allergens are often the cause of childhood asthma. Pollen, animal dander, foodstuffs, dust mites, mold spores, food additives and chemicals are the main causes. Preventive helps therefore only, not to come with the triggers in contact:
- Try to avoid constant infections of your child. This can not always be reconciled with his desire for social contacts. An annual flu shot is advisable for all asthma patients.
- Do not smoke. It is a common trigger for asthma attacks.
- Make the apartment mitigated with a house dust allergy: 1) Better than carpets are smooth floors, for example made of wood or stone, 2) Make sure that there are as few dust collectors in the apartment and especially in the nursery, 3) plush toys regularly cleaned (packed in a plastic bag, put in the freezer for 24 hours, then rinse briefly), 4) Special coverings are provided for the bedding; Cushions and blankets must be washed every four to six weeks at 60 degrees for at least one hour.
- Children who react to air pollution or have a pollen allergy should spend as little time outdoors as possible during heavy pollen or smog. At night, they sleep better with the window closed.