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Silent Asthma Triggers

Asthma and allergic rhinitis are manifestations of allergies in the airway. A child with allergic rhinitis is at a higher risk of developing asthma. There are no established preventive measures to avoid allergic diseases in children including asthma and allergic rhinitis. Food allergy is very rarely a cause. If you are allergy to foods (or other allergens) is suspected, appropriate tests should be done on you before avoidance measures are recommended. They may include skin prick tests or blood tests, and specialized challenge test.

Some foods like omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils have been reported to be good for these conditions, but no specific studies have proved this. A balanced diet is your main focus when it comes to a healthy body. There are alternatives to steroids and these new medications target the pathway of inflammation directly and have been show to be effective in controlling the diseases. They are available in tablets or powder sachets for very young children. Asthma and allergic rhinitis patients can and should lead an active lifestyle. Swimming is least likely to cause exercise-induced asthma symptoms compared to cycling or running.

Asthma Myths

Google asthma and along with all information about the chronic lung disease that affects the airways, you'll find a lot about the myths surrounding it too. Let the experts dispel the myths...

Myth: Children Outgrow Asthma

Fact: If there is no family history of asthma and a child does not have any other atopic symptomshypersensitivity reactions, such as eczema - then a child may get wheezy during a viral infection. Those are the children who get better as they get older and hence this myth may have come about. Doctors never say children will outgrow their asthma because it is genetically determined. Hence they probably will have a tendency to have asthma all of their lives. We can control the asthma symptoms - a cough that is worse with cold or dusty environments, difficulty in breathing that comes and goes, chest tightness aggravated by cold weather or after exercise - so it could look like-trey have outgrown it. Children with mild asthma do tend to improve as they get older, but they can get symptoms any time in later life.

Myth: Children With Asthma Cannot Play Sports

Fact: Doctors actually encourage children with asthma to exercise. One of the aims of treating them is to have them exercise like any other child, so they should be able to play sports and games without worrying about their asthma. Children who are unable to play sports because they keep getting asthma symptoms means that their asthma is not well controlled and exercise triggers the asthma. Instead of treating asthma adequately, parents often stop the children from exercising and think that has solved the problem.

Myth: Steroids Stunt Children's Overall Growth

Fact: We know that high doses of particular steroids do stunt a child's growth, especially when taken orally, hence in the treatment of asthma the inhaler form is used. The lower dosage is for extended use because asthma calls for long-term treatment of six months or more. Studies have shown that low doses (200-400mg a day, depending on the type of medication) have no significant effect on growth. Oral steroids are needed only if you have severe attacks. Such severe attacks can be avoided if you take your medication regularly and keep the asthma under control.

Myth: Asthma Is All In The Mind

Fact: We know that asthma can be triggered by many factors and one of them can be the emotions. So children who are highly anxious, excited about something or stressed over exams can suffer an attack, but if they are well controlled, this is less likely to happen.

Myth: Smoking Does Not Trigger Asthma

Fact: Cigarette smoke is a trigger. It is a very strong irritant to the airways, so I usually advise that children with asthma are not exposed to cigarette smoke. I definitely advise against them starting to smoke too.

Myth: Asthmatics Should Eliminate Wheat And Milk

Fact: A lot of things trigger asthma. When asthma is poorly controlled, you have to use reliever medication like your inhaler all the time. At this stage, once the airway is unstable, then it takes very little to trigger an attack, including foods. A child should avoid the food only when there is evidence of an allergy. I would not advise a child to avoid certain foods just because he is asthmatic. You may end up affecting the child's health through such food avoidance. Skin and blood tests can determine if an allergy is present or not.

Myth: Children Can Become Addicted To The Medication

Fact: Asthma medication is not addictive. Like any treatment of chronic disease, it is used in order to gain control of the condition. If the child has very good control, then he can come off treatment. Many parents would rather accept the asthma attacks than have their child on long-term treatment. That is where the conflict arises, but parents should be assured that doctors are very careful about the levels of medication prescribed.


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