Preventive inhalers are the mainstay of asthma management in children. Many children keep on having flare-ups or asthma episodes/attacks many times in a year. The usual treatment given is nebulization or oral syrups with bronchodilators i.e. medicines to open up the airways and give some relief to the child. In addition children also get a lot of antibiotics and cough syrups which are of no help in asthma. Inhalers are infrequently used in the management of children with asthma.
What happens in childhood asthma?
Many children in addition to asthma attacks keep on having regular symptoms in the form of regular cough, cough on exercise or breathlessness on exercise. This happens because in children with asthma the airways have swelling or inflammation which remains at most times. The most important concept to understand is that this swelling persists even when the child is not having acute symptoms. The airways remain very sensitive to allergens. This leads to regular symptoms and also leads to frequent flare ups or asthma attacks. Some kids may not get asthma attacks but get regular symptoms as mentioned above.
Why should preventive treatment be used as Inhalers?
Most of these kids are on as needed treatment and rarely on any preventive treatment. Preventive treatment is best given in the form of inhalers. Preventive inhalers contain inhaled steroids usually budesonide or fluticasone. These inhaled steroids in inhaler form are very effective and lead to quick relief of symptoms. These are extremely safe as the doses are very minute (in micrograms) and remain in the child’s airway without entering the body system. Inhalers are therefore the best way to give medicines in asthma.
How does preventive treatment help kids with asthma?
Children having frequent or regular symptoms require a preventive inhaler. Preventive inhalers would keep the airway swelling under control and makes the airways less sensitive to allergens. Preventive inhalers hence reduce asthma attacks, improve daily symptoms, keep the child maintain good health and perform all daily activities including good exercise.
Preventive treatment should be taken regularly.
Preventive inhalers are to be taken regularly on a daily basis even when the child is well. Most children are taking their inhalers irregularly leading to partial relief of symptoms. For maximum benefit inhalers should be taken daily in prescribed doses. Changes in the inhaler doses to be done only in consultation with your pediatrician or pediatric pulmonologist.