One in 10 Louisiana households with children have at least one child with asthma. Louisiana ranks in the top 25% of U.S. states for asthma-related deaths.
Tracy Marquette, RRT, AE-C, coordinator for the Community Asthma Management Program and an asthma educator at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital, shares what parents need to know about asthma.
Asthma is a potentially life-threatening condition that has seen a significant increase in cases nationwide, jumping nearly 15% over 10 years. Asthma is a swelling within the breathing tube. It can go dangerously untreated if it is unnoticed or misdiagnosed.
Often, parents question whether their child’s breathing issues are seasonal allergies, a cold or something more serious. It’s always important to be on the lookout for several signs that may indicate a serious respiratory issue.
Common Signs and Symptoms
- Frequent coughing
- Chest pain or congestion
- Wheezing or whistling sound as they inhale or exhale
- General, persistent shortness of breath
Worse than Normal Respiratory Infections or Colds
Sometimes children with asthma will have a stronger reaction to a respiratory infection or cold that aggravates the airways and produces episodes of coughing or wheezing that last longer than normal.
Irregular Sleeping or Shortness of Breath
Children can struggle with sleeping if they fight with a cough or have trouble breathing while lying on their back. Awakening at night with a cough may be a sign of asthma.
Negative Environmental Conditions
Several environmental factors can compound asthma trouble, including allergens (pollen, animal dander, mold, etc.), tobacco smoke, cockroaches or extreme physical exertion during cold weather. You should seek emergency medical attention immediately if your child shows any of the following symptoms:
- Trouble speaking because they can’t breathe
- Struggling to take a deep breath
- Using their abdominal muscles to breath, instead of their chest