Think Your Child Might Have Asthma?
(Family Features) Does your child sometimes wheeze?
Are they short of breath? If so, they may need to see a
health care provider to determine if they have asthma.
Asthma affects the airways, or tubes, that carry air in
and out of the lungs. In people with asthma, inhaling an
irritant causes the airways to become inflamed and the
airway muscles to tighten, making it harder to breathe.
Asthma is the most common long-term health condition
in children, affecting about 5 million kids in the United
States. It usually starts before age 5. Asthma impacts
some groups of children more than others. For example,
boys are more likely than girls to be diagnosed with it.
Black, Puerto Rican and Native American children are
more likely than white children to have asthma.
Poorly controlled asthma can cause kids to miss school
or even end up in the hospital. The good news is that
with the right management, most kids with asthma can
lead healthy, active lives. Here are several things you can
do if you think your child has asthma:
Look out for common signs and symptoms of asthma.
These include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness
and shortness of breath. According to the National
Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), up to 40% of
children who wheeze when they get colds or respiratory
infections eventually get diagnosed with asthma. Notice
when and where your child has symptoms. Do the
symptoms interrupt your child’s sleep? Do they occur
during a specific time of the day? Do exercise, allergies
or illness make them worse?
If your child’s symptoms persist, see a health care
provider. The health care provider may ask about your
child’s medical history and symptoms and do a physical
exam. They may also conduct tests to measure your
Work with the doctor to develop an asthma action
plan if your child is diagnosed with asthma. This
is important. The plan will help you track medicines,
monitor symptoms and changes, and understand when
emergency care is necessary.
Learn about the triggers that can bring on an asthma
attack. Try to avoid the triggers that make your child’s
symptoms worse. These may include things that cause
allergies – such as pets, pollen, mold and dust – or cold
or low-quality air, infections such as the flu and tobacco
Your family and health care provider can work together
to control your child’s asthma and keep your child doing
the activities they love.
Find asthma information and resources from NHLBI’s
Learn More Breathe Better® program at nhlbi.nih.gov/
Photo courtesy of Getty Images #15798
Source: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute