Although there have been substantial advancements in the treatment of asthma in recent years, the illness is not yet curable. Despite some media reports to the contrary, childhood asthma does not go away over time. However, it is possible that your child has an illness that has symptoms similar to asthma or their asthma could have gone into remission.
Common Causes of Childhood Wheezing
While wheezing and shortness of breath are symptoms of asthma, their presence doesn’t necessarily means that your child is asthmatic. By the age of 6, roughly 50 percent of U.S. children will have had a wheezing episode. Asthma certainly can be the cause of childhood wheezing, but it’s more likely the result of influenza infection or obstructive sleep apnea. As with its other symptoms, a flu-related wheeze will typically fade two weeks after the initial infection. If your child’s wheeze persists past that point, it’s best to consult with a specialist who can determine the precise nature of your child’s illness.
If your child regularly wheezes, experiences shortness of breath and a tightness in their chest, it’s possible that they don’t have asthma, but rather their symptoms are signs of an allergic reaction to something. Children who have allergies to certain foods, pet dander, insect debris, mold, dust and pollen can present with symptoms that are virtually identical to asthma when exposed to one of their triggers. In fact, individuals whose allergies cause them to experience breathing problems may also use an albuterol inhaler as rescue medication. Despite their many similarities, allergies and asthma are two distinct conditions that require different courses of treatment to be properly managed .
In some cases, children who have asthma will simply stop experiencing symptoms of the illness after they reach a certain age. While it is understandable that a parent might perceive this change as their child outgrowing asthma, that is not the case. In actuality the child has simply entered into a state of remission, wherein the sufferer’s illness is inactive, but still present. Commonly, children whose asthma goes into remission won’t experience any more symptoms until their 30s or 40s, at which point they are triggered by something like a sudden change in temperature, cigarette smoke or exposure to plant pollen.
While asthma is not curable, there are a number of steps parents can take to minimize the effect asthma has on their lives. One of the most effective is making sure they are not exposed to common asthmatic triggers. This means keeping your home as dust free as possible, being mindful of any signs of insect infestation, washing your child’s beddings in hot water on a weekly basis, making sure the family pet does not sleep in your child’s bedroom and not permitting the use of tobacco products in the home. As Dr. Shukla’s treatments have resulted in a 15 percent drop in asthma-related emergency room visits for his patients, he has the skills and experience necessary to help your child. Contact us today to set up an appointment.