How To Identify Asthma In Children

Asthma is prevalent in children. The condition is the most common childhood chronic lung condition and affects about 6 million children in the US. Without a proper diagnosis, asthma can land a child in the emergency room or keep a kid out of school. With the right management tools, children can live healthy and active lives. Here’s what parents need to know about tracking signs and symptoms.

center for family medicine Does My Child Have Asthma Signs And Symptoms To Track

Your child is coughing constantly

One of the most telltale signs of childhood asthma is a persistent cough. This symptom can linger for days or weeks. Often, coughing worsens when the child has an infection like the common cold. Commonly, coughing gets worse at night, during exercise, or in cold weather.

Do you hear whistling sounds while breathing?

Asthma causes a constriction of the bronchial tubes. When these breathing passageways are narrower, parents may hear a whistling or wheezing sound, especially when the child is breathing out. This symptom may worsen when the child has a viral infection.

Does your child have difficulty staying asleep?

Children can have a hard time sleeping for a variety of reasons. However, if the culprit is a chronic cough, shortness of breath, or wheezing, asthma may be to blame. This symptom can also exhibit as chronic fatigue when the child is consistently sleeping poorly.

Getting tired easily

Most children enjoy playing outside, running, or participating in sports. For children who have asthma, these activities may not be as enjoyable. This is because children with the condition struggle to breathe well and may get tired more quickly during exercise.

Breathing too fast

When children struggle to get enough air, the tendency is to breathe too quickly. This can cause the skin and muscles of the neck and chest to contract. Parents may also observe seesaw motions in the chest from labored breathing.

Treatment options

With the right action plan, children can still live an active, healthy life with asthma. Depending on the frequency and severity of the child’s symptoms, doctors may recommend children take medicine through an inhaler or a nebulizer. Parents should also make an effort to avoid a child’s triggers. Don’t allow smoking around children and limit exposure to dust mites, mold, pet dander, or pollen.

When to see a doctor

Any time a child is experiencing a chronic cough, shortness of breath, or repeat episodes of bronchitis or pneumonia, schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. Children may also complain of chest tightness or fatigue. A healthcare provider can provide diagnosis and treatment options.