Childhood or pediatric asthma is a condition that affects millions of kids across the U.S. and can cause missed school days, discomfort and even hospitalization. It’s important for parents to understand the symptoms associated with their child’s asthma and the specific triggers that can cause as asthma attack.
Symptoms & Causes
Asthma occurs when the airway swells up from muscles in the neck constricting and blocking the normal amount of air able to pass to the lungs. Causes of the inflammation can be from animal dander, chemicals, dust, mold, pollen and secondhand smoke. Symptoms of asthma can include wheezing, coughing, heavy or labored breathing, chest pain, low energy and weakness.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Your child’s doctor will try to trace the source of your son or daughter’s symptoms. Sometimes this can be difficult because the symptoms of asthma are also common in other conditions frequently diagnosed by pediatricians or pediatric ENT doctors. In kids older than five years lung function tests will evaluate the ability of your child’s lungs to take in oxygen. In younger children doctors will rely on the parents for good observation of symptoms that could be tied to asthma. Allergy skin tests might also be performed to rule out allergy-caused asthma. While asthma cannot be cured its symptoms can be maintained through long-term control medications. If frequent and severe asthma attacks occur your doctor will prescribe short-term or rescue medications to be taken before or after a physical activity.
It’s common for children to develop asthma because of certain risk factors. If any of the following conditions are a factor it’s important for parents to lower damage to your child’s lungs: Allergies, family history, secondhand smoke and frequent infection. Also be sure to avoid common asthma triggers with young children as they can be more susceptible to developing allergies.