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ASTHMA IN THE UNDER 5’s

Asthma symptoms (cough, wheeze and a tight chest) are difficult to treat in children under 5 years. Their airways are tiny and giving inhalers ids difficult.

Almost half of all young children under 5 will cough and wheeze at some time, usually when they have a cold or viral infection and many will be prescribed inhalers.

Which children are more likely to

be diagnosed with asthma?

 

Children with a family history of:

 

Premature babies are more likely to cough and wheeze with viral infections in the first few years, but will only continue with asthma symptoms after the age of 5 if they have - a family history of asthma or allergies, eczema or food allergies.

 

Children exposed to cigarette smoke, even before they are born, are more likely to cough and wheeze and be admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties in the first 5 years.

 

Triggers - the most common trigger in children under the age of 5 is colds and viral infections. Children in daycare or nursery may get 10 colds a year, therefore those children with asthma symptoms must be treated.  

Click here for Triggers and How to Avoid!

 

 

Medications  

Step 1:

Quick reliever inhaler - Ventolin or Airomir (usually blue) - 2 puffs given for cough or wheeze as prescried.   NEVER LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT!

Step 2: If symptoms persist a controller mediation may be prescribed.  Either - Singulair (once daily from 6 months given as sprinkles in applesauce & chewable tablets from the age of 2 years). OR, a controller inhaler Flixoitide (orange) or Beclomehtasone (Becotide) usually brown - (given every morning and evening even when your child is well).  This takes 7 to 10 days to be effective.

 

Steroids - a short course of Orapred may be prescribed fro acute asthma episodes.

 

Spacers - help the medicine get in the airways.    

Click here for How to use Inhalers (with spacers)

As soon as children can learn to use the Able spacer with a mouth piece the better.   Medications then reach the small airways and asthma will become easier to control.  See an asthma nurse to learn how to use spacers effectively.

 

What else can I do to help?

Encourage a good diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.  

Have plenty of physical activity to help the lungs develop.

Helpful Links:

 

www.asthma.ca

www.asthma.uk.org

www.lungsusa.org