Posted by Hilary Parker on July 25, 2011
This month’s issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology contains a study that purports to find a link between an expectant mother’s anxiety, stress and depression and a greater risk of asthma in her baby. As a pregnant woman, it is crucial to weigh the cost/benefit ratio when determining whether to medicate for depression while pregnant, especially as side effects from such medications can endanger unborn children, as well.
The study, which considered the pregnancies of 279 inner-city African-American and Hispanic women, revealed that about 70 percent of the mothers surveyed reported having experienced a high amount of anxiety or depression during their pregnancies and that their child wheezed before his or her fifth birthday.
According to the study’s senior author, Rachel Miller, MD, pediatric asthma symptoms can range from a nagging cough that won’t let up to immediate and life-threatening breathing emergencies which require immediate medical assistance. However, with the right treatment, kids with asthma can lead normal lives, she notes.
And if your child has been diagnosed with asthma or if you believe he or she may be experiencing it, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says following these tips will help make dealing with the asthma easier for everyone involved:
— Above all else, learn everything possible about asthma.
— If a child misses school because of asthma, it’s probably a sign that the treatment program should be re-evaluated.
— Understand the household and other environmental factors that trigger a child’s attacks and avoid them as best as possible.
— Recognize the signs of an oncoming attack and learn to judge its severity.
— Provide preventive care so the child has the least amount of difficulty with his or her asthma.
— Teach the child self-care.
— Be sure the child is using the asthma medications exactly the way the physician prescribed and is using an inhaler properly.
— If the physician has suggested using a peak flow meter and diary to assess the child’s level of asthma, be sure they are being used properly.
— Ask for some of the excellent educational materials and programs that are available, including asthma camps.
— Attend a free asthma screening. In addition to helping find adults and children at risk for asthma, screenings also provide an opportunity for diagnosed asthmatics to talk with a specialist about their disease and how to keep symptoms under control.