There’s nothing more frightening than witnessing a child’s asthma attack, listening to her wheeze and cough and fight for every breath—and sharing her panic.
Fortunately, pharmaceutical advances have resulted in a whole new class of drugs that prevents or relieves asthma attack flare-ups.
But, do you want your child on drugs, with their potential short- and long-term side effects? Besides, asthma attack drugs treat the symptoms without treating the underlying condition.
Are there alternatives that can lessen an asthmatic child’s drug dependency?
Yes, say authors Steven J. Bock, Kenneth Bock, and Nancy P. Bruning.
“It is our belief that asthma attack rates continue to soar because of our increasingly toxic environment,” they write. “Our children are assaulted from every direction with indoor and outdoor air pollution, poor food, and stress.”
The cumulative toxicity makes children more susceptible to an asthma attack.
n asthma attack is one of the most common illnesses of childhood; in the United States, nearly 9 percent of children have the condition (Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics, 2006).
The asthma attack is a chronic disorder of the airways that results from a complex interaction among genetic factors (e.g. predisposition to allergy), environmental factors (e.g. exposure to irritants, such as household cleaners, or respiratory infections), and psychological stress (Howard, Meyers, & Bleecker, 2003; Wright, Rodriguez, & Cohen, 1998).
Among children with chronic illnesses, those who suffer an asthma attack are the most common cause for school absence and hospitalization (Akinbami, 2006).
During an asthma attack, the airways become temporarily narrowed or blocked due to a spasm of the smooth muscle around the airways, inflammation, and increased mucous production.
As a parent who witnesses an asthmatic attack in a child, you suffer and wish you had a way to make it stop.
You take your child to the doctor, follow a treatment plan to the letter, and administer the prescribed drugs, yet the coughing and wheezing persist.
And then there are those frightening emergency room visits.
The daily anxiety of your child having another asthma attack has taken both an emotional and a physical toll on your child and has left you helpless to give him or her long-lasting relief.
It doesn’t have to be this way, according to Dr. Gary Rachelefsky, a leading asthma specialist who has treated thousands of children over the past thirty years.
Asthma doesn’t have to slow your child down-and with the right information and treatment options, you can help your child manage this illness.
You can start with looking at your indoor environment. Is it healthy for a child with asthma? Have you done all you can do to make the air safe for your child to breathe and avoid an asthma attack?
Have you read the labels on your household cleaners and removed those with toxic chemicals?
Recent studies on many of the ingredients commonly used in household products have concluded that these chemicals can be unsafe for asthmatics and could have long-term health consequences.
Could it be that some of these chemicals might actually be contributing to the significant rise in serious health conditions such as asthma that have occurred in recent years?
Your children are at a greater risk for chemical exposures inside the home now, more than at anytime in history.
Let’s start with the risks that chemicals in household cleaners present to children.
It’s no secret that children are highly vulnerable to chemical toxins.
Children spend a good deal of time putting things in their mouths so there is always the potential for ingestion of chemical residues.
Pound for pound, children drink more water, eat more food and breathe more air than adults.
The implication here is that children will have substantially heavier exposures than adults to toxins in water, food, or air.
And yet, so many of the popular and most trusted brands of household cleaners continue to include harsh chemicals in their formulations.
In an adult, a blood-brain barrier insulates the brain from many of the potentially harmful chemicals circulating through the body.
But in a child, that barrier isn’t fully developed so early exposures may be especially risky.
Children also have more time to develop chronic diseases triggered by early chemical exposures.
Some diseases related to environmental toxins may require decades to develop. So exposure during childhood may increase the health risks later in life, including those of an asthma attack.
Some scientists also believe that maternal exposure to toxic household chemicals during pregnancy can have developmental consequences for the fetus.
Since growth is so rapid at this time, early toxic exposures may have a significant impact on further development.
ospitals and doctors agree that more studies need to be conducted on household cleaners and the chemicals used in them that may provoke an asthma attack in children.
Until more studies are done, researchers recommend parents read the labels of their household cleaners and replace the toxic ones with non-toxic, eco-friendly, natural enzyme cleaners.