Asthma is an inflammatory respiratory sickness that causes difficulty in breathing. When a child has asthma, irritants can easily inflame her airways. The airways not only begin to narrow and swell, but also to produce mucus, which makes breathing a whole-body labor that further exhausts the child.
Asthma is a chronic condition. There is no cure, and if left untreated, it can be life threatening. Asthma also is hereditary. If you or your partner has asthma, your child is more likely to develop it. However, the disease can be managed well.
- Chronically inflamed airways
- Wheezing and crackling sounds when breathing
- Tight chest
- Using shoulders and torso to breathe
- Environmental irritants: dust, mold, chemicals, and smoke
- Upper-respiratory infections
- Emotional distress, stress, or excitement
- Changes in weather
- Low energy
- Weak digestion or gastroesophageal reflux
To prevent an asthma attack, identify, and then avoid the triggers. Keep a journal of your child’s attacks. For each attack, record her activity, possible trigger(s), the severity of the attack, and how you reversed it (for example, medications used). Thorough records can help you and your child manage the disease.
To strengthen your child’s lungs, encourage her to engage in physical activities that exercise her lungs, such as running, swimming, and singing. Discourage television, video games, and electronic toys that can be overstimulating without physical activity. Encourage good posture with yoga or dance, so that your child’s lungs have room to breathe. Support your child to manage her emotions.
Asthma: Suggestions for Care
You and your health care provider can find the triggers for your child’s disease and develop a plan. This plan will help lessen the threat of those triggers and to open her airways should another attack occur. Your health care provider will equip you with a peak-flow meter (to help you gauge the severity of an attack at home) and medicines to restore your child’s breath. As with allergies, treating asthma at the first sign can reduce the disease’s severity.
Ensure that your child gets plenty of rest, and keep the air in her environment humidified. If she is old enough, let her sleep propped up to allow easier breathing. To help prepare your child for future attacks, teach her deep-breathing or relaxation techniques to help her stay calm and to relax her air passages. Panic and crying can cause tension and tightness in the chest. Between attacks, support your child in getting natural treatments to strengthen her body.
Foods to Emphasize
Help your child form regular eating habits for healthy digestion and hydration through foods (in order to thin mucus). Offer immunity-boosting foods and brightly colored foods high in bioflavonoids, such as berries, purple grapes, and winter squashes. Onion and garlic reduce inflammation. Also, offer plenty of whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits, and sesame seeds. Bach Flower Rescue Remedy can help calm your baby.
Foods to Avoid
Phlegm-producing foods, such as citrus, cow’s milk, cheese, oily foods, peanuts, tree nuts, bananas, sugar, wheat, soy, eggs, shellfish, fish, chocolate, and tomatoes. Also, avoid preservatives such as sulfites, MSG, and food coloring, which can exacerbate asthma.
Essential Oils for Baby
Acupoints for Baby
- Lung 5, 7
- Stomach 36, 40
- Spleen 6
- Bladder 17, 18, 20, 23
- Kidney 7
- Heart Governor 6
Reiki for Baby
For two or more minutes, place your hands on the following parts of your child’s body: forehead and temples, back and top of head, lungs, stomach and intestines, heart, hara (belly), and lower back (kidney area).
Massage for Baby
- Gently massage the neck muscles below the ear down toward the collarbone.
- Massage the lung meridian.
- Massage the breastbone downward and in a sweeping direction.
- From the center of the chest, push outward toward the armpits and then below the rib cage.
- At the back of the neck, massage along the spine, the tops of the shoulders, and the small of the back, and push apart the shoulder blades.
Severe asthma requires immediate medical attention. Ask your health care provider to partner with you in managing this chronic condition. Contact your health care provider if your baby struggles to breathe or has a severe asthma attack.
Note: The suggestions and ideas in this article are not intended to take the place of professional guidance or treatment; they are meant to complement the advice of your child’s health care provider, caretakers, and educators, while offering consolidated information to help you develop your intuition and make choices that fit with your own personal, religious, or spiritual philosophies. There is no guarantee as to the effects of the use of the recommendations and no liabilities can be taken.