As a parent, there are few situations that can leave you feeling as helpless as holding your toddler while he or she struggles to breathe. Diagnoses of childhood asthma are on the rise, and for some toddlers who have vulnerable airways or who live in areas with a high proportion of airborne pollutants, asthma symptoms can crop up surprisingly early.
If your toddler has been diagnosed with asthma, are there any treatment options that are both safe and beneficial for his or her tiny body? Read on to learn more about some of the most effective asthma treatments for your toddler.
What is causing your child's breathing difficulties?
Asthma is the catch-all term for the condition that can cause narrowing or restriction of the airways, inhibiting breathing, but asthma has a wide variety of causes. Some asthma is situational in nature, and may only rear its head when air quality is poor or there exists a high proportion of airborne particulates like dust, pollen, or even smoke. In other cases, asthma may be exacerbated by stress or even exercise.
Regardless of the cause of your child's asthma, treatment should be performed in conjunction with general efforts to improve the air quality and decrease the number of allergens found within your home. If you don't already have a HEPA air filter, now is the time to invest in one; this filter will force air through the filtration device, removing even the tiniest particles and leaving your rooms filled with clean, dust-free air.
You'll also want to commit to a new laundry regimen that involves regular washing of sheets, blankets, and pillowcases. Dust mites and other microscopic pests that feed on dead skin cells and other detritus can exacerbate asthma, so washing your sheets and blankets in hot water on at least a weekly basis (and sometimes more often, if asthma symptoms are severe) can help improve breathing.
What other effective asthma treatments should you seek?
Some prescription asthma medication dispensed to adults, like albuterol, isn't necessarily safe for toddlers or young children. Because of this, your most effective treatment options are generally limited to inhaled or ingested corticosteroids, which help open the airways and make breathing easier, even when poor air quality or high numbers of particulates are present.
Many children may also benefit from a nebulizer, which turns these corticosteroids into a fine mist that can be inhaled over a period of a few minutes to an hour. Inhaling this humid air on a regular basis can help heal the irritated airway, making breathing easier even after the treatment has ended.
For more information about controlling your toddler's asthma symptoms, reach out to doctors at centers like Cookingham Allergy & Asthma Associates, P.C.