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Free Content Management of asthma in children in low-income countries [Child Lung Health. Serialised guide. Management of the child with cough or difficult breathing. Number 5 in the series]

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Asthma is a common disease in children living in low-income countries. Asthma is diagnosed in children, especially those aged over 2 years, who have wheezing episodes that improve after a bronchodilator is given (bronchodilator response test). Children are classified as having either intermittent or persistent asthma and treated according to the severity of the disease with either an inhaled bronchodilator (reliever) or a combination of an inhaled bronchodilator and inhaled corticosteroid (controller). Treatment is best given by inhalation, and as children under 5 years cannot coordinate their breathing with the multidose inhaler, spacers are required. These can be made locally from plastic bottles. Care givers need to be educated about how to manage asthma and should receive a written management plan on the management of the child's asthma. Children should be examined to see if they are allergic to especially airborne allergens, and if these are present they should be removed from the environment. Adult smoking worsens childhood asthma, and care givers need to be given support with smoking cessation. Regular planned follow-up is needed to ensure that the asthma is well controlled and the lowest dose of inhaled corticosteroid is used. Inhaled bronchodilators and corticosteroids must become freely available and should be inexpensive in low-income countries in order to treat childhood asthma correctly.
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Keywords: children; chronic asthma; low-income countries; management; severity of disease

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Affiliations: 1: Child Lung Health Division, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France 2: Scientific Activities Unit, International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Paris, France 3: Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, South Africa

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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