Diagnosing Asthma in Children to Get Easier
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5, March 2010
By Anuradha Mascarenhas
WITH environmental pollution, eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle making children prone to asthma, an initiative by the Chest Research Foundation (CRF) is set to make asthma detection easy.
CASPER – Controlling Asthma in Pediatric population through Education and Research – will enable pediatricians manage asthma cases that have gone up by 80 per cent in the city in the last five years as per studies by CRF.
“We aim to equip pediatricians to face the challenges in asthma management,” said Dr Barnali Bhattacharya, team member, CASPER. As many as 40 doctors attended the first CASPER meet, said Dr (Maj) retd Monica S Barne, Programme Coordinator, CRF.
The next meet will take place on March 21.
The training of pediatricians will be conducted by Dr Jagdish Dhekne, president of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics, Maharashtra State, Dr Shishir Modak president of Pune branch of IAP, Dr Barnali Bhattacharya and Dr Sachin Shah, director of the Neonatal and Pediatric Intensive care services at Aditya Birla Hospital, and Dr Sundeep Salvi, director, CRF.
Members of CASPER say asthma makes a child prone to repeated RTIs. Chronic dry cough and allergic rhinitis are also part of the asthma spectrum. Citing an example, Dr Bhattacharya said treating a child with antibiotics and bronchodilator syrups would result in short–lived recovery and the child would suffer another attack on exposure to cold air or weather change.
The CRF pointed out that the number of children with asthma has doubled in Pune in the last five years. The study on 4000 children in some 17 schools in 2003 showed a 2.9 per cent prevalence of asthma.
The study, when repeated in 2008, showed a 5.4 per cent prevalence.
“Childhood asthma is difficult to diagnose because of the varied presentations,” said Dr Sundeep Salvi. Lack of objective tools to diagnose pediatric asthma makes matters worse.
“For adults a spirometry can be done but children below 6 years cannot do spirometry,” Dr Salvi added.