According to the World Health Organization (WHO), asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in childhood, with almost 8% of children in India being affected by this condition. According to Dr Pravin J Mehta, Child Specialist, Jack-n-Jill Nursing Home, Mumbai, uncontrolled asthma can lead to inadequate sleep, fatigue, long-term decrease in lung function and even life-threatening asthma attacks, hindering a child's ability to participate in daily activities and affecting their academic performance and social interactions.
Early Detection for Timely Intervention
Early detection of asthma symptoms is crucial, as it allows healthcare providers to implement appropriate treatment strategies and educate parents and caregivers on asthma management. Most children will begin to display telltale signs before they turn five years old, therefore parents should be vigilant in recognizing them like frequent coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and nighttime awakenings due to respiratory issues3. Consulting a paediatrician at the earliest suspicion can make a substantial difference in the child's long-term health outcomes.
Accurate Diagnosis for Optimal Management
Proper diagnosis is essential to distinguish asthma from other respiratory conditions, as it allows for a targeted approach to management. Paediatricians may conduct a detailed medical history assessment, physical examination, and pulmonary function tests to confirm asthma. Doctors often use Peak Flow Meters and spirometry tests to check how well air moves through your lungs and if it can be reversed with inhaled medications, especially for children under the age of five. Early diagnosis helps avoid mismanagement, reducing unnecessary medications, and preventing complications associated with delayed or improper treatment.
Tailored Treatment for Better Control
Early treatment of paediatric asthma focuses on achieving optimal symptom control and preventing exacerbations. Asthma management consists of two essential parts: maintenance and reliever therapies. The primary goal is to rely solely on maintenance therapies and not need reliever medications. If someone needs to use reliever therapy frequently, it indicates poor asthma control. Inhalation therapy is the cornerstone treatment for treating chronic respiratory conditions like asthma5. Inhalation devices administer medicine directly to the airways and lungs, requiring lower doses and minimizing side effects.
Quick-acting medication in inhalers provides swift relief during asthma attacks, making a significant difference in managing this serious condition.1
Tailored treatment plans consider the child's age, severity of symptoms, triggers, and individual response to medications. Proactive asthma management can reduce hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and overall healthcare costs.
Education and Empowerment
Early intervention in paediatric asthma not only benefits the child but also empowers parents and caregivers with knowledge and skills to manage their child's condition effectively. Asthma education programs help families understand asthma triggers, medication usage, and the importance of an asthma action plan. Empowered parents can recognize early warning signs of worsening asthma and take appropriate action, mitigating the impact of the disease on the child's life.