Asthma is a common disease among children that causes coughing, wheezing and labored breathing. Asthma attacks can be quite frightening for a child – especially young children who have not yet learned how to cope with these episodes. Unfortunately, the disease often goes undiagnosed for many years, instead of being mistaken for other chronic diseases such as recurrent bronchitis or chronic cough. It is important to see a pediatrician about asthma-like symptoms in a child, as treatments are available to help manage the disease.
Did you know…
the rates of childhood asthma are on the rise? According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 6 million children in the U.S. currently have respiratory disease. However, advances in modern medicine have made it possible to diagnose asthma earlier than ever before and treat it more effectively too.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my child has asthma?
Though asthma can appear at any age, more than 8 in 10 children with the disease will develop symptoms before age 5. Only your child’s doctor can diagnose asthma, so do not hesitate to schedule an appointment if you notice persistent wheezing, coughing or shortness of breath. You should also seek medical attention for a child who complains of tightness in his or her chest. Keep in mind that symptoms of asthma may not be present at all times. In fact, some children only experience asthmatic symptoms at night or when exercising.
How will a pediatrician diagnose my child’s asthma?
Your child’s doctor will request information about the types of symptoms your child experiences at home. The doctor may listen to your child’s breathing and test airway function using a spirometer.
What is the treatment for asthma?
If your child’s doctor makes an asthma diagnosis, he or she may prescribe medications to help clear the airways of blockages. If symptoms persist despite treatment, further testing may be necessary, your child’s doctor may choose to test for other conditions that can make asthma worse, such as sinusitis or GERD.