The child suffering from asthma appear to be struggling for breath. Actually, they have more trouble in exhaling than inhaling because the air passage of the small bronchi become clogged and because the air passage of the small bronchi become clogged and constricted with mucus, thus making it difficult for the patient to breathe out. All asthmatics have more difficulty in the night, especially when asleep.
In case of asthma in children, there are recurrent attacks of cough and wheezing, accompanied occasionally by fever and breathlessness. Breathlessness in case of child-patient does not come in the form of paroxysmal attack. The child with asthma is likely to be thin. The chest expands poorly and may be deformed, and expiratory bronchi is heard in the lungs. The child tends to be over-dependent and lacking in self-confidence. He may tend to worry than most children and become interested in his own reactions and fears. One of the reasons may be a fear in him that his breathing will stop, perhaps while he is asleep.
The natural way to treat asthma is by stimulating the functioning of slack excretory organs, adopting appropriate diet patterns to eliminate morbid matter and reconstruct the body.
Mud-packets applied to the abdomen will relive the fermentation caused by undigested food and will promote intestinal peristolysis. Wet packs should be applied to the chest to relive the congestion of the lungs and strengthen them. The grown-up children should be encouraged to perspire through steam bath, hot hip bath, hotfoot bath and sun bath. This will stimulate the skin and relieve congested lungs. The procedure for these baths have been explained in the Appendix.
No one should be allowed to smoke in the child’s bedroom and no member of the family should smoke in the house, as the tobacco smoke in the atmosphere can harm the asthmatic children. Emotional upsets at home should be avoided as they make the asthmatic child worse. And above all, the parents should always remain cool and calm when their children get attacks of asthma.
Diet plays an important role in the treatment of asthma. Ideally, the diet of child patient should contain a limited quantity of carbohydrates, fats and proteins which are acid forming foods, and a liberal quantity of alkaline foods consisting of fresh fruits, green vegetables and germinated gram. Foods which tend to produce phelgm such as rice, sugar, lentils and curd and also fried and other difficult to digest foods should be restricted. The last meal should preferably be taken at least two hours before going to bed.
Children with asthma should be encouraged to eat less than their capacity, eat slowly and chew their food properly. They should drink six to eight glass of water a day, but should avoid taking water or any liquid with meals. Spices, chilies and pickles, too much tea and coffee should also be avoided.
Honey is considered beneficial in the treatment of asthma. It is said that if a jug of honey is held under the nose of an asthma patient and he inhales the air that comes into contact with the honey, the breathing becomes easier and deeper. The effect lasts for about an hour or so. Honey usually brings relief whether the air flowing over it is inhaled or whether it is eaten or taken either in milk or water.
Turmeric is regarded as an effective remedy for bronchial asthma. The child-patient should be given half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with half a glass of milk two or three times daily. It acts best when taken on an empty stomach.
The use of garlic has also been found beneficial in the treatment of asthma. One clove of garlic boiled in 15 ml. of milk can be given daily as an effective medicine to the child-patient in the early stages of asthma.
During the attack, mustard oil mixed with little camphor should be massaged over the back of the chest. This will loosen up the phlegm and ease breathing.
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