You’ve managed to board the flight with children and carry-on luggage intact. As you sit down and buckle up, the youngest child coughs a few times. You pat him on the back and assure him that he’ll be fine as the pilot announces the plane is ready for takeoff. But your son is not fine. Now he’s wheezing, and you and your spouse exchange a startled, knowing look. It’s an asthma attack, long forgotten since the last one, that requires the immediate attention of the inhaler buried somewhere in the compartment above.
If you’re one of almost 20% of families who have been impacted by asthma, this story may be a familiar one.
An asthma attack, which makes it hard to breathe because of inflamed airways, can be frightening – especially for small children. Symptoms include shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness in the chest and a cough lasting more than a week.
This chronic disease is prevalent in children, mostly age five to 14, but tends to decrease as the child ages. Adults can have asthma, too. In fact, anyone can develop asthma at any age. And by the time a person reaches age 65, asthma becomes a concern because it can easily be overlooked as a symptom of ageing.
Causes for asthma vary and are not always easy to detect. Both genetics and environment contribute with triggers to include:
● Household dust mites and cockroaches
● Allergens and mold
● Cigarette smoke, air pollution and other harsh chemical odors from household products
● Changes in weather and temperature
● Stressful situations
Why Early Diagnosis and Treatment Matter
Asthma can be life-threatening so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional who understands the disease and can prescribe the best treatment plan.
Emirates Hospital Jumeirah’s, Medical Director and Consultant Pulmonologist, Dr. Maan Jamal, who specializes in asthma and allergic diseases says, “While research continues to reveal information on the most effective treatments, the best practice is to take proactive measures. This helps keep the patient at ease and avoids costly emergency room visits, which are common with asthma patients.”
Today’s common treatment medicines are a bronchodilator that relaxes tightened muscles around the airways and an anti-inflammatory medicine that reduces or prevents swelling in the airways.
Three Steps to Managing Asthma
Because asthma can occur suddenly, patients and families must be prepared. Taking action now can be as simple as following these steps:
1. If any of the symptoms of asthma are present, schedule an appointment with our physician, specializing in Pulmonology.
2. Follow the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor and always have medicine available nearby.
3. Be aware of what can trigger asthma, and try to avoid as much as possible.
The good news about asthma is that when you manage it, it no longer manages you and your family. You can breathe easier knowing that treatment and proper care are close by with Emirates Hospitals & Clinics.
To learn more about the health precautions you should take, please feel free to contact Dr. Maan Jamal, Consultant Pulmonologist, Emirates Hospital Jumeirah at 800444444