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Helping Kids Weather Asthma

Changes in temperature, humidity, barometric pressure can lead to attacks

SATURDAY, Oct. 18, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- As many as 10 percent of children suffer from asthma, and it's especially important for their parents to pay attention to the weather.

That's because some weather changes and conditions can cause serious asthma problems.

Changes in temperature and humidity, barometric pressure, or strong winds can trigger asthma attacks by aggravating the nose and airways of a person with the condition, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Another outdoor force -- pollution -- is also a big asthma trigger, as are conditions in which the air is heavy with particles, such as in a dust storm or when there's smoke from a large fire.

Experts recommend keeping children who suffer from asthma indoors on ozone alert days or on days when the air is thick with smoke or dust.

Exercise can be another trigger for asthma symptoms, which include wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Doctors say taking the time to adequately warm up before going outdoors and exercising may help with such problems.

In mild cases, asthma can be an uncomfortable nuisance. But in the worst cases, attacks can be fatal.

That's why experts strongly encourage parents to educate themselves on the factors that can cause their children's attacks, and to have the proper medications on hand for managing asthma.

More information

The American Lung Association offers more information on children with asthma.

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
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