Asthma is an inflammatory response, which results in mild to severe difficulty in breathing. Asthma is the most common chronic disease in childhood. A Canadian study of 12,082 children shows that children are twice as likely to develop asthma if they are given antibiotics under the age of one. The systemic upset to a children’s developing immune system caused by antibiotics can make children more sensitive to their environment. Asthma can be triggered by exposure to pollen, dust, dust mites, feathers, molds, animal dander, pollution, cigarette smoke, cold dry air, upper respiratory infections, exercise, excitement, and stress. Viruses are associated with 80-85% of asthma exacerbations in school-age children, according to the American Journal off Respiratory Critical Care Medicine. Certain Chinese herbs have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and they can be used together with western medications to reduce the frequency and severity of asthma attacks. Acupuncture is beneficial for helping the body to clear infections, relax the chest, strengthen the lungs, and reduce inflammation. It is also used to strengthen digestion to reduce mucous production.
Diet is very important when addressing asthma. Limiting or avoiding foods, which produce mucus, such as dairy, sugar, refined wheat products, and an excess of raw fruits and vegetables is crucial. On the plus side, Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) found in fish oils and evening primrose oils are “essential” because of their ability to regulate the inflammatory response.