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Hey, parents, be on the alert for signs -- early signs -- of an asthma attack

February 12, 2010 | 11:56 am

Inhaler Parents can hope all they'd like. But they can't assume that their children's early asthma-attack symptoms will simply go away. Of course, first they have to learn to recognize the symptoms as such -- and then they have to learn what to do about them.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis contacted 101 parents of children who had ended up in the emergency room or an urgent-care situation because of asthma attacks. They wanted to find out what those parents generally notice about their children's symptoms -- and what they generally do about it.

All parents reported that, yes, their kids routinely experienced at least one consistent sign of an impending attack, whether it was a cough, wheezing, shortness of breath, behavior change or the like. But 1 in 4 didn't fear an imminent attack until the symptoms had progressed -- sometimes to the point at which the kids were gasping for breath or experiencing retraction (in which the skin of the chest is pulled in among the ribs of  with each inhale).

Without early treatment, well... that's how you can end up in the ER.
Here's the full study, published recently in Annals Of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

The researchers point out that obviously there's some need for education among parents of asthmatic kids. They suggest, for starters, better home use of asthma drugs.

Here's more on asthma in children from eMedicinehealth.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Getty Images