UAE: Doctors urge parents to watch out for early signs of asthma in children

Cough, wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness are the most common symptoms of the condition, expert says



File photo
File photo

By SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Tue 3 May 2022, 4:11 PM

Last updated: Wed 4 May 2022, 12:10 AM

As the world marks Asthma Day (on May 3), doctors in the UAE are urging parents to watch out for signs of the condition in their children as early as possible to avoid further complication in the future.

“Asthma is caused at an early age. Family, allergic history are the main reasons for the condition. It affects the development of the child, including attendance and performance at school,” said Dr. Muhammed Aslam, Specialist Pulmonologist, International Modern hospital Dubai

What is asthma?

“Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus which may cause breathing difficulty and trigger coughing and wheezing,” explained Dr Sood.

Medicos said that the condition is caused by genetic pre-disposability and exposure to triggers like atmospheric changes, climatic changes, and pollution.

“Dust, chemical, gasses and many other factors are the triggers,” said Dr Aslam.

“Airborne allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, cold air, smoke and respiratory infections, certain medications, including beta blockers, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, strong emotions and stress, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, all these can trigger asthma symptoms,” said Dr Sood.

What is childhood asthma

Doctors say that childhood asthma is not different from the condition in adults. “It is a leading cause of emergency department visits, hospitalisations and missed school days,” said Dr. Kartik Sood, Specialist Pulmonologist, NMC Speciality Hospital, Al Nahda, Dubai.

“Unfortunately, childhood asthma can't be cured, and symptoms can continue into adulthood. But with the right treatment, the symptoms can be kept under control and damage to lungs can be prevented,” added Dr Sood.

The theme of this year for raising awareness about asthma is ‘closing gaps in asthma cure’.

Medicos said that that asthma is one of the most common respiratory diseases affecting people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities in around the world.

“It is estimated that the number of people with asthma worldwide may be as high as 334 million. In the UAE, the reported prevalence ranges from 2.79 per cent to 8 per cent,” said Dr Sood.

What are the symptoms

Healthcare specialists said that the most common symptoms of asthma are cough, wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness– which may feel like a band is tightening around it.

Treatment and cure

Dr Aslam said that the treatment involves medications and lifestyle changes. “Inhalers are the best and safest medical cure, with very less side effects,” said Dr Aslam.

“Currently, there's no cure for asthma, but treatment can help control the symptoms, so you are able to live a normal life. Inhalers, which are devices that help you breathe, are the main treatment,” said Dr Sood.

When to seek medical attention immediately

  • Severe breathlessness or wheezing, especially at night or in the early morning
  • Inability to speak more than short phrases
  • Low peak flow readings when using a peak flow meter
  • No improvement in breathing after using inhaler

ayaz@khaleejtimes.com

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