Asthma and allergies are most common diseases of childhood.  The incidence of childhood Asthma is increasing rapidly throughout the world.  It is the most important cause of school absenteeism and inability to participate in extracurricular activities among children.

All cases of Asthma are influenced by genetic and environmental factors.  It is important for parents to know that most kids with Asthma are allergic and should have allergy evaluation as a part of their care.  The two most common triggers of Asthma are colds and allergens (substance that trigger Asthma).  Dust mite, animal dander (pets), cockroaches, smoke, pollen etc. are common allergens of Asthma. We cannot do a lot about viral illness but there are ways to limit allergen exposure in the home environment.

Children with Asthma typically cough, wheeze (a whistling sound when breathing) and experience chest tightness and shortness of breath.  May parents do not know that a child does not have to wheeze to have Asthma.  The only symptom may be frequent annoying cough particularly at night or during exercise.  Parents may notice their child has less stamina to play, child trying to limit or avoid physical activities to prevent coughing and wheezing.

Asthma means inflammation of the airways of lung.  This inflammation makes airway smaller, which makes it more difficult for air to move in and out of lung.  Today very effective and safe medications are available to relieve the acute symptoms and to prevent from recurrent asthma attacks.  Child with asthma can have very normal childhood without any need to compromise in his school and extracurricular activities.  Over the counter medication for asthma are unsafe and should be avoided.

Dr. Jofrelyn Bistoyong

Pediatrician

Bahrain Specialist Hospital

Email: [email protected]