Monday, 15 September 2008

Episodic Asthma

My firstborn Aloysius was diagnosed with Episodic Asthma. He was coughing on and off for 2 months now and usually the dry cough attacks after he plays hard or have been jumping or running around which is part of their daily activities at home. He and Kyle was diagnosed with Upper Respiratory Tract Inspection (URTI) two weeks ago, Kyle got well but Miggy’s coughing doesn’t improve despite the medication he took. It was Wendy’s suggestion to bring him to a Pedia-Pulmonologist and so we went to see one last Saturday.

After finding out about Aloysius having asthma, I searched the internet and here are some information worth reading: Asthma is common in childhood—approximately 1 in 5 children will suffer from symptoms of asthma at some time. About 50% of children with asthma have onset of their symptoms in the first 3years, and about 80% will have developed their asthma by 7 years of age. Asthma in the pre-school age occurs most
commonly with viral respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold, and in
many children symptoms occur only with these viral infections.

Symptoms which should suggest the possibility of asthma include:
• episodes of cough and/or wheeze (whistling sound) associated with colds
• persistent night-time cough during and/or between colds
• breathlessness, cough and/or wheeze with exercise or excitement

Asthma can best be described as a condition in which the airways (breathing tubes) are more sensitive than normal and tend to narrow in response to certain triggers.
This narrowing is due to:
• swelling of the lining of the airway
• increased mucus in the airway
• “bronchospasm” (contraction of the muscle layer surrounding the airway)
This narrowing leads to the symptoms of asthma, cough if the narrowing is mild, wheeze if the narrowing is moderate and breathlessness and breathing difficulty if the narrowing is severe. Triggers which can produce this narrowing include viral infections, exercise allergens (e.g. house dust
mite) weather change and various irritants (e.g.
cigarette smoke). This also meant removal of all our carpets and hairy stuffed toys.. Bye Pampa….Kyle was crying hard and got angry with me as I keep his toys in the cabinet.

Although asthma is common in the pre-school age group, the majority of children have a mild form of the disease. Asthma may be divided into the following forms:
1. Mild episodic asthma—this form occurs in about 75% of children, with episodes occurring only with colds and less than every 2 months. Some children may only have 2-3 episodes in their lifetime.
2. Frequent episodic asthma—this form occurs in about 20% of children. The episodes occur every 6-8 weeks or even more frequently and sometimes there are some mild symptoms such as night-time cough or exercise cough/wheeze between episodes.
3. Chronic asthma—this form occurs in less than 5% of children. These children have daily symptoms of cough and/or wheeze, often at night or on wakening and also with exercise. They also may have acute episodes of wheezing with other triggers.

Children with mild episodic asthma may only require relieving medications during the acute episodes of cough/wheeze. Children with frequent episodic asthma and chronic asthma should have regular preventive therapy as well as using relieving medications for treatment of symptoms.

I’m not sure if Aloysius’ asthma belong to the Mild or Frequent episodic type. He is still under the 10-day treatment/observation stage.

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