Asthma In Children

Asthma In Children

Asthma refers to the condition where the airways in the lungs swell and become narrow. They also produce extra mucus thus making breathing very difficult. At the same time, they trigger other respiratory symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Children can also suffer from asthma, in fact more than adults. Many children who have asthma, will show symptoms before the age of 5. Asthma can affect the day to day life and create problems with schooling, playing and development.  With adequate care and precautions, children with asthma can lead normal lives with reduced flare ups and better control to avoid missing school and other activities.

As per Ayurveda, Asthma is described under the aegis of ‘Shwas’ or ‘Tamakshwas’.  Shwas is one of the major diseases that causes a lot of medical emergencies.

Aama (toxin of undigested food) is formed in the body due to malabsorption of rasa dhatu (Tissues of nourishment), improper food habits, agnimandya (Weak digestive fire). This aama combines with vata aggravated by nidan sevana (causative factors) and creates aavarna in strotasa (enwrapment in the system) – obstructing dhatu vahan (causing disturbance in normal process).

The airway inflammation in asthma may be due to sama vata (A subtype of vata), which creates shopha (inflammation) in strotasa (Respiratory system). This sama vata agitates the sthanik kapha dosha (local kapha factors) in the uras (Chest), thereby causing a mucus plug – that causes the obstruction. The awarana (enwrapment) of kapha produces symptoms of difficulty in breathing which is pratyatma linga (distinguishing symptom) of Tamakshwas (Asthma).

Causes Of Asthma In Children

The immune system of children is in a stage of development. Hence even minor allergies can trigger signs and symptoms of asthma.

The triggers of asthma are different for different people and can include:

  • Allergen in the air like pollen, dust, mites, spores etc
  • An infection of the Respiratory tract
  • Any heavy physical activity
  • Very cold climate or air
  • Smoke and other air pollutants
  • Certain medications
  • Stress

Symptoms Of Asthma In Children

Asthma symptoms do not widely differ in children compared to adults, but often they may present as fatigue in children rather than a  full blown breathlessness.

Some common signs and symptoms of asthma, in children under the age of 5, are

  • Regular coughing
  • Wheezing sounds while breathing
  • Breathlessness
  • A feeling of tightness in the chest
  • Repeated bronchitis

The presentation generally varies in children. While some may have minor symptoms on day to day basis but can suffer from a severe asthma attack suddenly; other children show mild to moderate but consistent symptoms.

  • Infants may show slowness in feeding or breathlessness during feeding.
  • Toddlers may be tired easily and cough with little running around.
  • In a lot of children <5yrs, their asthma attacks can be triggered or worsened by colds and other respiratory infections.

Asthma In Children Ayurvedic Treatment

As per Ayurveda, Ahar (food) and Vihar (regimen) causing Vata and Kapha aggravation should be avoided and a good life style is necessary for better quality of life.4-5

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Light warm easily digestible foods should be given
  • Avoid sour food
  • Avoid deep fried and processed food having preservatives.
  • Avoid foods such as curd, rice, buttermilk, lentils, paneer, cheese, sugar etc.
  • Drink warm water.
  • Avoid heavy foods like banana, over eating
  • Take light dinner
  • Maintain a gap of an hour in-between, dinner and sleep.

Lifestyle Changes (Vihar)

  • Avoid cold water shower or bath, especially head bath, day sleep, excessive sleep, sedentary life.
  • Keep your child away from passive cigarette or tobacco smoke
  • Protect your child from air pollutants using a paper/cloth mask etc.
  • Avoid constipation in kids

Ayurvedic  treatment for Asthama in Children:

Internal medicine

The ancient Ayurvedic Sanhita have well documented respiratory disorder viz Kapha (Cough), Shwasa (breathing difficulty). The main aim of natural treatments of asthma is to improve the elasticity of alveoli which further reduces severity and frequency of Asthma. The Ayurvedic treatment also increases the threshold of various allergies.

  • Panchkarma:
  • Vaman
  • Virechana
  • Nastya
  • Basti
  • Snehan
  • Swedan
  • Meditation
  • Yoga & Pranayama