What to know about children’s asthma when air quality is bad

Credit: NIAID
Credit: NIAID

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – When the air quality is bad, kids with asthma have a tougher time breathing. Asthma is a common lung condition that keeps more kids home from school than any other chronic illness.

Dr. Kristin Farr with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital says asthma can range from mild, occasional symptoms or ones that only show after exercising to severe asthma that, if left untreated, can dramatically limit activity and cause changes in lung function.

Related: East Tennessee fires cause thick haze, unhealthy air quality

During an asthma flare up, the airways become inflamed or swollen and produce lots of thick mucous. This can lead to coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Children with asthma are overly sensitive to certain things or triggers. Common triggers are exercise, allergens like dust and pollen and irritants in the environment like air pollution and cigarette smoke.

To prevent flare ups, take all medication as prescribed by the doctor, keep rescue medicine on hand at all times and avoid triggers.

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