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How To Identify Asthma In Babies?

A mother should be very cautious about her habits during her pregnancy as anything that she does has a direct effect on the unborn baby.

The baby carries the genetic material from both the father and the mother. Not only does the baby inherit the looks and the personality, but also genetic mutations or even allergies. Among others, one condition that is majorly caused due to family allergies is asthma.

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition where the bronchial tubes are inflamed, due to an allergy or an illness. This may close up the airways and cause difficulty in breathing. Though it is a common condition suffered by the adults, doctors are encountering increasing cases of asthma in babies as well.

When aggravated, the airways swell and block the air flow. This results in difficulty in breathing. Asthma attacks are known to be quite stressful to deal with.

What Are The Early Signs Of Asthma In Babies?

Asthma can be quite dangerous if not treated on time. Therefore it is important to look out for the first signs in babies to prevent asthma attacks. Babies have smaller airways than adults which makes it even riskier.

Usually, these are the first signs which indicate asthma in babies.

• Difficulty in breathing - If you notice that your baby is making more efforts in order to breathe, it could be an indication of asthma. Typically, a baby's stomach should be involved in the breathing process. If you find that your baby is moving its stomach a lot while breathing, you may want to get it checked.

• Frequent coughing - This is another common sign which indicates the onset of asthma. We cough to clear up the airways. More coughing indicates that there is something blocking them, probably the swelling.

• Wheezing - It is a kind of noisy breathing. If you notice your baby constantly wheezing, it is time to get medical supervision.

• Difficulty in eating - Your baby may no longer be proactive in eating or even sucking on something any more as it may reduce their oxygen intake. Though this alone may not indicate the onset of asthma, this along with other symptoms may be able to give you an indication.


How Do You Test The Baby For Asthma?

Even if you have noticed any of the above symptoms of asthma in babies, it cannot conclude that your baby has asthma. Before assuming, it is important to get medical supervision who will be able to conduct tests on your baby to properly diagnose asthma.

Diagnosing asthma in babies may be quite tricky. Tests to check the functions of the lungs are usually carried out to diagnose asthma in children.

However, it is not possible for babies. The doctors will have to rely on the information that you provide regarding any symptoms that you may have noticed and also if certain things as such foods or smells trigger a cough in your baby or cause a difficulty in their breathing. It is important to give your doctor as much information as possible in order to help with the diagnosis.

There are two lung function tests that can confirm whether your baby has asthma or not - spirometry and methacholine challenge test. In spirometry, the amount of air blown out is measured which will give an idea about the airway obstruction. The methacholine challenge test involves bronchoprovocation and if the results are negative, asthma is ruled out.

In addition to this, the doctor may also advice chest x-ray for a detailed examination of your heart and lungs.

If the doctor suspects asthma, they may prescribe some asthma medications to see how your baby will respond to them. If the symptoms subside after the medication, the doctor may conclude it as asthma.


What Are The Treatment Options Available?

Babies with asthma often require a lot of care and attention. There are a lot of medications that can help you and your baby deal with the condition.

Using inhaler is a common method to treat asthma in babies. Though some babies may be reluctant to them, having you by their side may give them some assurance.

Inhalers directly target the airways and reduce inflammation.

Along with medications, it is important to understand the exact causes of their condition. Keeping them away from things that trigger their asthma, such as dust, pollen or cigarettes smoke may help you manage the condition.


Can A Baby Outgrow Asthma?

Asthma symptoms that start early may disappear later in life. At times the asthma attacks disappear, only to return a few years later. However, babies with severe asthma probably suffer from attacks throughout their lives.

It is important to diagnose asthma early on in life and start a treatment plan. Moreover, it is also important to understand the elements that trigger asthma in your baby and make efforts to keep them away. This will not only reduce the attacks but also give your baby a normal life when they grow up.


Will Home Remedies Help?

Though home remedies cannot completely cure asthma, they help manage the condition quite well. Ingredients such as ginger and eucalyptus oil help open up nasal passages.

Asthma is not as threatening as it sounds. It just requires patience and love from you as a mother order to help your baby manage the condition well.

Read more about: babies parenting asthma
Story first published: Sunday, October 7, 2018, 11:00 [IST]
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