You have a small child who has a recurring cough or who seems to have shortness of breath frequently.
You go to the pediatrician for help and learn your child has something called reactive airway disease. The question is how terrified should you be for the health of your child.
There’s no need to panic
First, you’re probably wondering exactly what is meant by reactive airway disease.
Your pediatrician probably tried to explain it to you but doctor’s speak just isn’t effective when you are worried about the health of the most precious thing in your life.
Basically reactive airway disease is a generic term used to diagnose breathing and respiratory problems experienced by young children and infants. In some cases, pediatricians will prescribe asthma medication for the treatment of the disease.
One of the common issues of confusion is that reactive airway disease is the same as asthma so let’s talk about this in more detail.
Is RAD just asthma?
Not always. Basically, physicians want to be really careful about labeling respiratory problems in kids as asthma until they have a chance to see if the problems are chronic. Sometimes breathing and coughing problems can be caused by other issues, such as exposure to chemicals.
Just assuming every wheezing youngster has asthma could cause doctors to overlook other possibilities and could end up keeping your child on medication he or she does not need.
In many cases, however, reactive airway disease does end up being diagnosed as asthma once children get a little bit older and their symptoms don’t go away.
How does reactive airway disease work?
Like asthma, most bouts of RAD are triggered by some type of environmental stimuli. The breathing airways become over-stimulated so they end up narrowing which makes breathing very difficult.
Because controlling the symptoms is dependent on identifying the trigger, doctors often will try to find that as part of the treatment process.
How to deal with the disease?
When you have children, you don’t want to see them suffering and a full-blown reactive airway disease attack can be scary to witness.
Be sure to watch for signs that an attack is coming so you can remove the trigger immediately and can take steps to minimize the problem.
Give the medications required but also have your child drink a lot of warm liquids. The warmth will make the mucous thinner; cold liquids will actually make things worse.