Be a smart mother by ensuring your child breathes freely

Being a mother naturally puts you in a vulnerable zone when it comes to your child’s health and well-being. A smart mother, however, is not just competently supportive but is also adept in identifying and working upon the impediments that affect her child’s growth and development.
Mrs. Mehra is one such smart mother who acted appropriately and well in time, while her eight-year-old son Mohit was experiencing persistent episodes of coughing. When the standard medicines for cough did not have any beneficial effect on Mohit’s inconvenience and the difficulty in breathing during night further aggravated his suffering, Mrs. Mehra was quick enough to seek medical opinion.
Mohit was diagnosed with asthma. And, needless to say, his parents were appalled by the diagnosis as they thought that their son would need to restrict himself from several activities which a boy of his age usually enjoys.
“At first, it was just a persistent cough, but when Mohit started complaining of breathlessness and chest pain while playing and running, I decided to immediately consult a specialist. Thankfully my prompt action saved Mohit from potent complications,” recalls Mrs. Mehra.
“Initially the doctor’s diagnosis was distressing, but he assured us that Mohit would be able to lead a normal life, provided the treatment plan was followed precisely. And true to his word, it has been four years since Mohit was diagnosed and he is living an active life like any of his ‘normal’ friends. He is well aware of his asthma triggering agents and avoids them. He also knows that he has to keep his inhaler handy for instant relief if an attack comes,” adds Mrs. Mehra.
Literally, any delay in Mohit’s diagnosis and appropriate treatment would have deprived him of childhood fun and enjoyment. Missing out on school and having restricted sports participation would make any child’s life miserable, considerably affecting his all-round development as well.
In India, around 25 to 30 million people suffer from asthma and 44 percent of all asthma hospitalizations are for children. The data itself indicates a tremendous lack of awareness about asthma among the masses, defying acceptance of the chronic disease and also the gap in efficacious treatment.
According to Dr. Pawan Agarwal, Consultant, CMRI, “Often mothers ignore their child’s early symptoms of asthma which mimic seasonal cough and try to treat it with cough syrups and tablets. Recurrent or persistent cough, often accompanied by wheezing, which is like a whistling sound while breathing out, chest pain and breathlessness are the chief indicators of asthma which require prompt medical attention.”
“Once detected, it is of vital importance that asthma triggers (which vary from person to person) are identified and avoided. Also, it is highly imperative that the patient adheres to the treatment regimen as recommended by the specialist, which mostly involves inhalation therapy,” adds Dr. Sushmita Roy Chowdhury, In charge in Critical Care Medicine And Internal Medicine, Apollo.
Inhalation therapy is the mainstay treatment for asthma control. However, when drugs are administered orally in the form of tablets, pills or syrups, it can have potential side-effects.
On the other hand, in inhalation therapy the dose of drugs is 40 times less than in oral drugs. Also, the inhaled medicine reaches directly to the lungs where it is needed without being absorbed by other body parts, thus, cutting down the chances of any side-effects. Sometimes, a little bit of the drug may be deposited in the mouth or throat and may cause sore throat or husky voice, however, rinsing the mouth with water after each puff on the inhaler can solve this problem.
“Inhalation therapy definitely has a more favourable risk-benefit ratio than oral controller treatment. Use of inhaler is a simple, safe, and convenient and it is a quick way of getting relief from asthma symptoms. Additionally, regular use of inhalers can help in cutting-down the recurrence of asthma attacks and also in preventing complications,” says Dr. Aritrika Das, Consultant, R.N.Tagore. Having asthma is not as dreadful as not getting treated for it. In fact, a person with asthma can lead a completely normal and active life provided adequate management measures are taken to control it.
It is therefore important for mothers to act smartly and ensure that their child is breathing safe without falling prey to the complications of delayed diagnosis and inappropriate treatment of this chronic lung disorder, like Mrs. Mehra.

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