Little girl is coughing, on white background

How to Know if Your Child Has Asthma

Sometimes referred to as pediatric asthma or childhood asthma, this chronic lung disease makes it hard to breathe in certain trigger situations. It can also make it difficult to engage in everyday activities.

Although there is no cure, millions of children have been diagnosed with asthma and are undergoing successful treatment.

In this article, we will explore what asthma is all about and how to know if your child has it.

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a lung disease in which the muscles within the bronchial tubes that carry oxygen to the lungs become inflamed, swollen, and tightened. They can also create extra mucus. The result is a narrowed airway that makes breathing difficult. All of this is usually caused by certain triggers.

Those who have asthma do not always have difficulty breathing. But, when a flare-up is triggered, it is referred to as an asthma attack. This can be very scary for the kids and their parents, often resulting in a trip to the emergency room.

Signs and Symptoms of Asthma in Children

Many different symptoms of asthma may or may not impact your child. Having an idea of what to look for can help you get your child the treatment needed as soon as possible.

Below are a few signs and symptoms of asthma to be on the lookout for:

  • A lingering cough
  • Coughing at night
  • A tight chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing or whistling sound
  • Common respiratory infections that impact the chest

If your child is suffering from any of these, contact your pediatrician.

At What Age Do Children Get Asthma?

Children can get diagnosed with asthma at any age. Pediatricians usually perform an exam and may have a breathing test done to check the airflow to and from the lungs. Because allergies also play a role in the disease, many doctors will want the young patient to be seen by an allergist, too.

Be prepared to discuss your family history with allergies and asthma as both of these things tend to run in the family.

If your child shows any of the above signs or you believe they may have asthma, getting treatment early can minimize the risk of attacks. Schedule an appointment with your pediatrician.

Common Asthma Triggers

The triggers for an asthma attack are going to be different for everyone. Some may include:

  • Pollen
  • Pet dander
  • Fur
  • Dust
  • Colds
  • Changes in weather
  • Smoke
  • Poor  air quality
  • Intense emotions
  • Physical activity

Keep in mind that while these are common asthma triggers in children, each one may or may not impact your child.

Treatment for Asthma During Childhood

Unfortunately, there is no cure for pediatric asthma. Rather it will follow them into adulthood and for the rest of their lives. The good news, however, is that there are treatments available to help minimize these symptoms and the frequency of the attacks.

With breathing treatments and medications, your child’s pediatrician and care team will create a plan to reduce the risk of asthma attacks and keep everything under control.

When to Seek Emergency Treatment

Some asthma attacks will require your child to be seen right away. If any of the below symptoms are present, seek emergency treatment.

  • Severe coughing and wheezing
  • Difficulty walking or talking
  • Unable to complete a sentence without stopping to take a breath
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Increased sweating
  • Chest pain
  • Pull in chest, sides, and stomach when breathing in
  • Blue lips and/or fingernails
  • Widened nostrils

The more you understand childhood asthma, the more likely you are to notice your own child’s symptoms so that treatment can be sought early.

Advocare Haddon Pediatric Group is a highly experienced team of pediatricians serving patients from birth through college. They have been an established leader in pediatrics for decades in the Haddon Heights and Mullica Hill areas of New Jersey.