Over 300 million people worldwide have asthma, according to a report. It is one of the top-listed chronic illnesses among children. The rate of asthma in children is increasing significantly every year. Asthma is the leading cause of chronic illness among children and the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15. Unfortunately, it is very common that the parents of young ones are not able to recognize the early signs of asthma and usually overlook them as a routine ailment. Though not a life-threatening ailment, asthma in kids can impair their quality of life due to the symptoms it causes. Asthma in kids restricts their life in terms of playing and doing activities where more strenuous breathing is required.
What Exactly is Asthma?
Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and results in chronic inflammation of the airways. That means, the small tubes that bring air into the lungs are swollen and inflamed, and at times clogged with mucus. This swelling and clogging makes it difficult for air to move freely in and out.
Asthma is characterized by repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, coughing, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing.
Asthma in children is no different than in adults, but the severity tends to be more in children because they have smaller airways. Homeopathic remedies for treating asthma are not only successful but are also safe and devoid of any side-effects. Homeopathy offers holistic treatment for asthma in children as it goes into the root of the problem to treat it.
Why does Asthma go Undiagnosed in Children?
Asthma usually goes undiagnosed for a number of reasons including the fact that other respiratory diseases have overlapping symptoms. Another major factor is the fact that some children can stay free from the symptoms for long-periods before going through another asthma attack. Also, many kids only show subtle signs of the disease initially. Inadequate information about the true symptoms of asthma also reduces the chances of diagnosing it, as most parents identify asthma only with wheezing. Chest congestion is another symptom that’s sometimes overlooked as an infection such as bronchitis. In infants, asthma is all the more difficult to identify as wheezing may not be heard until they are at least 18 to 24 months old. In such cases, one must look for clues such as a rattling cough, rapid breathing, and frequent chest colds. Small children may have difficulty in verbally expressing the discomfort felt in the chest so there are chances that the parents might not be aware of it.
How Is Asthma Diagnosed?
Although diagnosing asthma in children below the age of five is not so easy, regular visits to a physician can help identify the disease. Understanding signs like the time of a cough, periodicity and recurrence of the problem, family history, symptoms such as wheezing, tight chestedness, signs of allergy, etc. and the physical examination, can help a physician can ascertain whether the child has asthma or not.
Testing of lung function with spirometry or a peak flow meter can also help in assessing the degree of obstruction in the air passages. However, these tests are not effective for very young children, and assessment is based on clinical examination and symptoms.
Homeopathic Remedies for Asthma in Children
Homeopathic medicines for asthma in children help manage the tendency of chronic recurrence. These medicines also reduce the frequency and intensity of the asthma symptoms. Where required, homeopathy also focuses on addressing allergic tendencies (which are a cause of asthma) by moderating the immune system.
Made of natural substances, these medicines do not cause any side effects and can be treated n a safe, effective manner.
Homeopathic treatment for asthma can be used alongside conventional medicine in acute cases of asthma.
In case of an acute asthma attack, it is necessary to get conventional help, (like an inhaler in case of extreme shortness of breath). This provides immediate relief to the child and can be followed by a homeopathic medicine for shortness of breath.
Top Homeopathic Remedies for Asthma in Children
Sambucus Nigra – Homeopathic medicine for Asthma in Children with Suffocative Attacks
Sambucus Nigra is one of the best homeopathic medicines for asthma in children. It is a natural homeopathic medicine prepared from a plant named Common Elder. The plant belongs to the family of Caprifoliaceae. Fresh leaves and flowers of this plant are used to prepare the medicine. Sambucus Nigra tends to bring remarkable recovery in cases of childhood asthma. Nightly suffocative attacks of asthma in children are the key indicators to use this medicine. The child suddenly gets up at night, feeling suffocated. Along with suffocation, the child is restless and cranky. A cough with excessive difficulty in breathing, the expulsion of a small amount of tough mucus, nasal obstruction are the typical symptoms.
Natrum Sulph – Constitutional Homeopathic Medicine to Treat Asthma in Children
Natrum Sulph is an excellent homeopathic medicine used to treat asthmain children. It is a constitutional homeopathic medicine that is highly suitable for treating asthma in children. This medicine works towards eradicating the chronic tendency of asthma in children. A child needing Natrum Sulph has a cough, dyspnea, and rattling of mucus in the chest. An expulsion of green colored mucus may be noted. Asthma triggered by cold and exertion and asthma that worsens in damp weather are the symptoms indicative of using Natrum Sulph.
Arsenic Album – Homeopathic Medicine for Asthma in Children with Breathing Difficulty
Arsenic Album is an important homeopathic medicine frequently used to treat asthma in children. Asthma with extreme difficulty in breathing is treated well with this medicine. The child cannot breathe comfortably due to constricted air passages. He/She puts great effort to breathe normally. Cough is attended with a difficult expulsion of mucus and wheezing in the chest. Homeopathic medicine Arsenic Album is mostly used to treat asthma that worsens upon going to bed, or during midnight.
Other Important Homeopathic Remedies for Asthma in Children
Cina – Homeopathic Medicine for Cough Variant Asthma
Cina is a homeopathic medicine prepared from the plant Artemisia Maritime. It belongs to the family Compositae. Cina is a useful homeopathic medicine for cough variant asthma where violent dry cough is markedly present. Cough is intense and spasmodic and ends with vomiting. The cough appears in paroxysms (suddenly). After a cough, the child may moan and turn pale. Evening and night aggravation, a sensation of being suffocated, and irritability are well noted.
Cuprum Met – Homeopathic Medicine for Asthma with Spasmodic Cough
Cuprum Met is a useful homeopathic medicine for treating asthma with a spasmodic cough. Here child gets a strong, violent fit of cough that ends in vomiting. The child gets stiff feels suffocated, has difficulty in breathing with a cold face and blue lips. Drinking water can help relieve the cough. White mucus may be expelled, and difficulty in respiration along with whistling occurs. The cough tends to appear at night disturbing, disturbing the child’s sleep. A pressure or constricted sensation in the chest may appear. Asthmatic attack when walking quickly is also indicative to use homeopathic medicine Cuprum Met.
Antimonium Tart – Homeopathic Medicine for Asthma with Rattling in Chest
Antimonium Tart is a well-indicated homeopathic medicine for asthma accompanied with cough and rattling of mucus in the chest. The airways seem overloaded with mucus. The chest is intensely congested with great rattling of mucus. Cough is present all the time, without any expulsion of sputa. Shortness of breath and a sensation of suffocation may be present.
Spongia Tosta – Homeopathic Medicine for Asthma with Dry Cough and Wheezing
Spongia Tosta is an excellent homeopathic medicine for an asthmatic cough. The key feature to use Spongia Tosta is a dry cough, with wheezing in the chest. The cough is extremely dry, deep, and bark-like. It is present all day and night. Warm drinks may relieve the cough for a while. Along with this, suffocation and short, difficult respiration is present.
Ipecac – Homeopathic Medicine for Asthmatic Shortness of Breath
Ipecac is a homeopathic medicine for the treatment of asthma. It is prepared from the root of the plant Ipecac. This plant belongs to the natural order Rubiaceae. It is indicated for an asthmatic cough with intense shortness of breath and constriction in the chest. Slight exercise tends to bring shortness of breath. The child has short, panting, heavy breathing with an exhausting cough. Phlegm rattling in the chest may be present. There is marked suffocation. Vomiting appears with coughing. The child’s face turns blue, and the child stiffens with a spasmodic cough. The child may feel better in the open air.
Hepar Sulph – Homeopathic Medicine for Asthma that is Worse in Cold Air
Hepar Sulph is a prominent homeopathic medicine for asthma that gets worse in the cold air. Following exposure to cold air, the child gets a cough along with difficulty in breathing and wheezing. The cough is loose with mucus in the chest. An expulsion of yellow colored phlegm may occur. The cough gets worse in the morning, and consuming cold drinks also makes the cough worse.
Childhood Asthma: Causes
Causes and predisposing factors for asthma in children include:
Genetics play an important role in childhood asthma. Children having a family history of asthma or any allergic disease are at risk to develop asthma.
Children who have allergic tendencies like nasal allergies (hay fever), atopic dermatitis, are predisposed to suffer from asthma.
Smoking by the mother during pregnancy is another risk factor for developing asthma in children.
Low Birth Weight
Children having low birth weight or those who are born prematurely are also at risk for developing asthma.
Symptoms of Asthma in Children
Around 60 to 70 % of children with asthma tend to develop the symptoms before five yrs of age. The symptoms of asthma include the following:
A Cough is a prominent symptom of asthma, and it tends to get worse at night. Worsening of the cough due to exertion (like while playing) is noted. The cough may be dry or lead to the expulsion of mucus, with other symptoms like difficulty in breathing and wheezing. However, there are cases where only dry cough is present without any other features of a classic case of asthma (like shortness of breath and wheezing).
Such cases are known as cough variant asthma.
Wheezing is a high pitched whistling sound in the chest that appears as a result of an obstruction in the air passages. This happens when air moves through narrow air passages.
Difficult breathing (Dyspnea) – Dyspnea or shortness of breath tends to appear in asthma from narrowing of airways. Tightening of muscles surrounding the airway and inflammation that causes swelling of airways leads to contraction of the airways. There is also excessive mucus production.
Chest tightness and congestion also occur as a result of asthma.
Excessive fatigue, trouble sleeping, and limitation of play time due to breathing difficulty are common symptoms of asthma in children.
Asthma Triggers in Children
Allergens – Molds, pet danders (from hair, skin or feathers), dust mites, pollens, and cockroaches are some common allergens that can trigger asthma in children.
URI – Frequent upper respiratory tract infections like common cold or flu can contribute to asthma.
Cold air, changes in the weather can also trigger asthma in children.
Air pollution, exposure to smoke, and exposure to passive smoking can also trigger asthma in children.
Make sure you consult a physician if your child experiences any of the following signs and symptoms
- Coughing that is constant or intermittent.
- Wheezing or a whistling sounds audible when your child exhales.
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing. This may or may not be associated with exercise.
- Chest tightness.
- Repeated respiratory infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis
- Identifying asthma in infants and the very young is usually difficult. The symptoms might only show up when the child exerting e.g. Coughing after running, coughing at night or during sleep. Wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath are also accompanied by crying, yelling and laughing. Infants may have problems feeding and may grunt during suckling.
Managing Asthma in Children
Some tips to manage asthma in children include:
- Reduce exposure to allergens.
- Keep pets away from the child if he/she is allergic to pet dander.
- Pollen allergies should be managed by keeping the child indoors and keeping the windows closed during high pollen season.
- Allergies to dust mite can be managed by washing the bedding in hot water at least once a week. Removing floor carpets from home and not using too many stuffed toys during play also help minimize allergies.
- Excessive exercise and playing should be avoided.
- Exposure to passive smoking should be eliminated.
- Dehumidifiers should be used in humid conditions.