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Children with asthma are sensitive to sudden temperature and humidity changes. When going outdoors during cold weather, the air inhaled may not warm or become humid enough as it passes through the warmth and humidity of the nose before it gets to the airways. Thus, the cold air entering the airways may trigger an asthma attack.
The majority of children with asthma have allergies. Even exposure to low-grade allergens (those that do not cause significant allergic reactions) may increase the severity of a child's asthma. In addition, allergies may play a role in undiagnosed asthma cases. Other triggers of childhood asthma may include:
However, with proper management of the asthma, such as avoiding triggers, taking prescribed medications, monitoring for warning signs, and knowing what to do during an asthma attack, a child with asthma can conduct a healthy and active lifestyle.
How asthma will affect a child throughout his/her lifetime varies, depending on the child. For some children, asthma improves during the teenage years, while others have symptoms that become more severe over time. About half of the children who have asthma at a young age appear to "outgrow" it, although the asthma symptoms may reappear later in life.
Exercise, such as running, may trigger an asthma attack in the majority of children with asthma. However, with proper management of the child's asthma, a child with asthma can maintain full participation in most sports. Aerobic exercise actually improves airway function by strengthening breathing muscles. Some tips for exercising with asthma include the following:
Some children with asthma may need to take their medications during school hours. It is important that the child, family, physician, and school staff all work together toward meeting the child's asthma treatment goals. To ensure optimal asthma care for your child at school, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommends the following:
It is very important to be honest with your child about his/her disease, the severity of the disease, and the use of medications. Always remember as your child grows, independence is an important goal for a child. They do no want to be different, yet they will need guidance and supervision on any restrictions they might have.
Having asthma does not have to mean having less fun than other adolescents. It is important for your adolescent child to tell his/her friends and dates what triggers the asthma, such as cigarette smoke or even perfumes or after-shaves, depending on his/her sensitivity. In addition, your adolescent child should continue taking the asthma medication as prescribed. If your adolescent child has exercise-induced asthma, he/she may need to take a preventive medicine before participating in any physical activities, such as dancing. Always consult your child's physician if you have questions.
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Online Resources of Respiratory Disorders
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