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Asthma troubling children in Kuwait
April 8, 2018, 12:33 pm

During allergy, dust and winter seasons, Kuwait's hospitals and health centers are overcrowded with children distressed from asthma attacks, carrying their sufferings between clinics and pharmacies. Asthma is one of the most common allergies in Kuwait, as statistics released by the Ministry of Health in May 2016 indicated that rates of adults with asthma in the country reached 15 percent, while children reached 18 percent.

Asthma patients regularly need preventive treatment to avoid severe attacks, as well as other medications to relieve the symptoms. Both curing methods require awareness and training of the patient on ways to administer proper dosage and timing.

Asthma rates are climbing in the country namely during the humidity season, where pollen is increasing, as well as during dust storms' season. Other factors that could stimulate asthma attacks include genetic reasons and environmental pollutants.

Pediatrician at the Amiri Hospital, Dr. Dana Al-Haqan, in remarks to KUNA said, "Asthma is a chronic illness that attacks airways to the lungs, resulting in narrowing them, which interrupts air flow into the alveolus, leading to repeated fits of shortness of breath, coughing and sometimes mucus." For children, asthma attacks happen by inhalation of substances that trigger allergic reactions or irritation of the respiratory system, as these attacks vary in intensity and frequency from one child to another, considering that asthma is the most common diseases among children, she added.

As for genetic factors, some studies have shown that if one or both parents, as well as any other member of the family has asthma, eczema or nasal allergies, then the child is a strong candidate of being an asthma patient, Dr. Al-Haqan pointed out. Environmental factors are major contributors to the severity of asthma, as they intensify frequency of asthma attacks.

As for seasons, usually emergency rooms are packed with short-breathed patients from the beginning of October to January, with most suffering from viral diseases and influenza as well, which increases the severity and frequency of asthma attacks, she noted. Al-Haqan advised all asthma patients to receive the influenza vaccination at the beginning of the season, which is the beginning of October.

From the end of March to May, pollen and dust spread more, causing more frequent asthma attacks, and unfortunately embarking on yet another allergy season, she added.

Asthma becomes more acute when consuming food that triggers allergy in some children like eggs, nuts, some kinds of fruit and others, she said. A special examination of various kinds of food causing allergy to the child should be taken in order to keep away from such foods, she added.

Some children also have allergies against things such as chemical substances, bird feathers, animal fur, or preservatives, leading to increasing the severity of the attacks, she said.

Secondhand smoking would also greatly contribute in high chest irritation, she said. The majority of asthma-plagued children recover and the symptoms disappear between the ages 5-6, but this varies from one child to another, she added.

A child who is committed to preventive drugs and periodic visits to a pediatrician could be cured quicker, but a large percentage of children recover from this illness, she affirmed. Some of the medications prescribed to asthma patients include cortisone inhaler, or leukotriene powder or pills besides other, she pointed out.

The major aim of asthma treatment in the long term is to reduce the number of asthma attacks among children, in order to allow them to lead a normal life and keep going to school with less sick leaves, she said. Dr. Al-Haqan advised parents to give asthma drugs to their children before outdoor activities such as sports.

As Kuwait weather, especially in the summer, witnesses waves of dust, it is recommended to leave home with a protective mask or a wet towel on the nose and mouth area.

Parents of asthma patient should always keep doors and windows tightly closed and use 'Ventolin' medication at the beginning of the asthma attack associated with heavy coughing and breathing difficulty, as the parents should rush to the hospital when the attack intensifies, she warned. 

Source: KUNA

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