Signs and Symptoms of Asthma in Children

Signs and symptoms of asthma in chilren

Your child has been showing signs that may be asthma, such as problems breathing and decreased energy. But how can you be sure?

In the United States, 7 million children suffer from asthma. Asthma symptoms can start anytime in a child’s life, but in childhood asthma, the symptoms will likely start showing by age five. Understanding childhood asthma can help ease your concerns about your child’s breathing problems.

Symptoms of asthma

It can be hard to nail down the exact symptoms of asthma. Each child experiences the symptoms differently. Not only that, but your child may even have different symptoms each time they have an asthmatic episode. If your child is under age 5, you should also remember that testing for asthma may be difficult for your child to complete. That being said, here are common symptoms for childhood asthma:

  • A cough that’s chronic, or won’t go away.
  • Coughing spells that happen frequently. Theses spells can happen anytime, but tend to happen while your child is playing, laughing, crying, or at night.
  • Tightness or pain in your child’s chest.
  • Wheezing (an almost musical sound) while breathing.
  • Tight neck and chest muscles.
  • Labored breathing or shortness of breath.
  • Decreased energy while playing. Your child may also feel weak or tired.
  • Rapid breathing.

When to see a doctor

Getting medical care for your child’s asthma symptoms is critical. Early treatment can help control your child’s symptoms and help prevent asthma attacks. Take your child to the doctor if:

  • Your child has shortness of breath or rapid breathing
  • Your child has chest tightness
  • Your child has repeated episodes of bronchitis or pneumonia
  • Your child wheezes when they breath
  • Your child has constant coughing, usually associated with physical activity

How childhood asthma is diagnosed

Discuss your child’s symptoms and medical history with their doctor. The doctor will also listen to your child’s heart and lungs and may look for signs of allergies. However, asthma symptoms may disappear by the time your child can be seen by a doctor. Pay attention to your child’s symptoms and write down anything you think will be important for your child’s doctor to know. Recording video of labored breathing or strange breath noises may be helpful. Your doctor may also recommend testing to help diagnose your child’s asthma. This testing may include x-rays or a breathing test called spirometry. Your child may also be tested for certain asthma triggers.

How asthma is treated

Treating your child’s asthma should involve a multi-pronged approach. Your child’s doctor will likely advise you to help your child avoid asthma-inducing triggers, including smoke of any kind. You may also be asked to keep a close watch on your child’s asthma symptoms on an everyday basis. In many cases, daily oral or inhaled asthma medication can be helpful in controlling your child’s symptoms.

Having a child who can’t breathe properly is a scary experience. Don’t be shy about getting help for your child’s asthma symptoms. When managed properly, asthma doesn’t have to affect your child’s daily life in a dramatic way. Some children may even notice a drop in symptoms as they become adolescents. No matter how severe your child’s asthma is, having a good relationship with their doctor will help you stay on top of the scariest symptoms.