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How To Tell If An Infant Has Asthma

Other Common Triggers Include:

How to Tell if Your Child Has Asthma
  • Pollen, dust mites, cockroaches and pet dander cat dander is worse than dog.
  • Inhaling cigarette smoke or having contact with someone who has smoked cigarettes .
  • Chemicals including household cleaners, citronella candles and bug sprays. Colognes and scented lotions are triggers. Pool chlorine can be a problem indoor pools should be avoided as the chlorine is enclosed in the building. Private pools are much better than public, because public pools tend to have much more chlorine in them. Beach swimming is better than pool swimming.
  • Stress: Even family stress can contribute to your childs asthma!
  • Cold and windy weather.
  • Exercise: If your child is prescribed daily medications, make sure theyre taken prior to exercise, especially if your child is physically active. Also, your child should have their inhaler on hand. Exercise-induced asthma may be caused by rapid movement of air into the lungs before it is warmed and humidified. This often occurs because of mouth breathing during exercise.

Managing Your Childs Asthma

A team will help you manage your childs asthma. This may include your doctor, practice nurse, asthma educator and pharmacist.

Asthma is treated with inhalers known as relievers and preventers to relax and open the airways, and reduce the swelling and narrowing inside them.

Keeping a record of your concerns and your childs symptoms will help your doctor decide whether your child has asthma.

Your doctor, nurse or asthma educator will help you learn how to:

  • use peak flow meters to assess your childs breathing at home
  • use inhalers and spacers
  • keep an asthma medication and symptom diary
  • asthma proof your home and avoid the triggers for your childs asthma.

Theyll also help you develop a treatment plan for asthma episodes and upper respiratory infections.

How Is Childhood Asthma Treated

There isnt a cure for asthma, so the goal for asthma treatment is to keep symptoms under control and prevent asthma attacks. Ideally, treatment allows the child to be able to participate in physical activities as if they didnt have asthma.

Infants and toddler-aged children might not receive treatment immediately. Instead, your doctor may want to wait to see how asthma symptoms change over time.

Older children will often be prescribed two different types of asthma medications: long-term medications and quick-relief medications, often called rescue medications.

Long-term medications help prevent asthma symptoms. These are taken daily, and sometimes multiple times a day. Examples of long-term asthma medications are:

  • Inhaled corticosteroids like and

  • Injectables like omalizumab

Quick-relief medications are used to treat asthma attacks and work by opening swollen airways. Sometimes, a dose of these quick-relief medications is recommended before exercise or strenuous play. Examples include fast-acting beta blocker inhalers like and .

Ultimately, your childs treatment plan will depend on their age, symptoms, and other medical conditions. Your pediatrician is also likely to suggest:

  • Keeping your child away from his asthma triggers if you know what they are

  • Getting a yearly flu vaccine

  • Treating chest infections quickly

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What Types Of Asthma Are There

Healthcare providers identify asthma as intermittent or persistent . Persistent asthma can be mild, moderate or severe. Healthcare providers base asthma severity on how often you have attacks. They also consider how well you can do things during an attack.

Asthma can be:

  • Allergic: Some peoples allergies can cause an asthma attack. Molds, pollens and other allergens can cause an attack.
  • Non-allergic: Outside factors can cause asthma to flare up. Exercise, stress, illness and weather may cause a flare.

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How Do You Give Your Child Asthma Medication

Asthma In Young Babies

You will be giving your child asthma medications using a valved holding chamber device or a home nebulizer .

Your child may be able to use a metered dose inhaler with a VHC. A VHC is a chamber that attaches to the MDI and holds the burst of medication. Talk with your childs provider to see if an MDI with VHC is right for your child.

The nebulizer delivers asthma medications by changing them from a liquid to a mist. Your child gets the medicine by breathing it in through a facemask or mouthpiece.

There are some asthma medications that are also breath-actuated, or come as a dry powder. These medications are given to older children who are able to demonstrate the appropriate technique for using them.

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Be Partners In Asthma Management

As soon as your child is old enough, make sure he or she understands the asthma action plan and the importance of following it. Some kids with asthma, especially teens, resist taking long-term control medicines and rely instead on their quick-relief medicines to help them on an as-needed basis. This is never a good idea and will increase the chances of needing emergency care.

The chances of a serious asthma flare-up can be reduced if parents and kids understand and follow the action plan. And remember to call your doctor even during early flare-ups or if you have questions about your action plan.

Reviewed by: Nicole A. Green, MDDate reviewed: May 2013

Note: All information on KidsHealth is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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How Do You Know If A Child Has Asthma

In this section: Diagnosis and Lung Testing | How To Tell You Have Asthma | Your Healthcare Team

Asthma is a complex disease to diagnose, and only a healthcare professional is able to make a proper .

If you are concerned that you may have asthma, contact your healthcare provider. In order to confirm an asthma diagnosis, your healthcare provider will take into account your medical and family history, allergies, and conduct lung function testing such as spirometry.

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When To Call 999

Dont delay getting the help you need if your child has an asthma attack. Call 999 if your childs reliever isnt helping, or youre worried at any time.

While you wait for an ambulance, your child can repeat step 4 above.

An asthma attack is a real emergency, and could be life-threatening, says nurse specialist Debby Waddell.

Getting the right help when your child needs it is so important, to make sure your child is treated quickly. Never think youre wasting anyones time.

When To Get Help

How to tell if your child has Asthma

Listen to your gut and speak with your childs pediatrician about anything that doesnt seem quite right, even if you or your child cant easily give it a name.

Wheezing, in particular, isnt normal and should never be ignored. Contact a doctor if:

  • The wheezing is new
  • Wheezing isnt new but is getting worse
  • Youre otherwise concerned about whats happening with your child

Unfortunately, a breathing emergency may be the first indication that your child has asthma. Get emergency treatment for them right away if:

  • They stop mid-sentence to catch their breath
  • Their nostrils widen nostrils when they breathing in
  • Theyre using abdominal muscles to force air in and out
  • The abdomen is sucked under the ribs when they inhale
  • Theyre lethargic

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Rapid And Labored Breathing

If your baby often breathes in shallow, quick inhales and exhales, he/she could have asthma. To determine if your baby is having a hard time breathing, look for flared nostrils and the sucking in and out of cheeks, ribs, and belly. These could be signs that your child is struggling to take in oxygen and breathe it out. Consult your doctor immediately if you notice these asthma symptoms.

If your baby does have asthma, its essential for you to make sure your home has proper ventilation to help circulate clean air. To help clear airborne contaminants and improve air circulation, consider placing an air purifier in your babys room.

The Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 is ideal for babies with asthma, as it helps to reduce 99.97% of airborne pollutants while operating at a whisper quiet noise profile so your baby can sleep without interruption.

Asthma Signs & Symptoms

People with asthma experience symptoms due to inflammation in the airways. They might only occur when you encounter an asthma trigger. Common symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of asthma include:

  • Persistent or recurring coughing: which often occurs at night or early in the morning, although it can happen at any time. Coughing is a major feature of asthma, especially in children and can sometimes be the only sign of asthma.
  • Wheezing: is difficulty breathing accompanied by a whistling sound coming from your airways
  • Shortness of breath: gives you the feeling that you cant get enough air into your lungs, and may even find it difficult to eat, sleep or speak
  • Chest tightness: an unpleasant sensation of heaviness or pressure in the chest that can make it hard to breathe
  • Increased mucus production: is characterized by high levels of thick fluid or phlegm accumulating in your airways
  • Difficulty breathing while exercising: having trouble breathing while performing physical activities can be a sign of asthma
  • Losing Sleep: Being unable to sleep through the night because of breathing troubles

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Wheezing And Asthma In Infants

Millions of kids under the age of 18 have asthma. Most develop symptoms by age 6 some do as young as by age 3.

Asthma is becoming more common in developed countries, though no one knows exactly why. But researchers are sure of one thing: Kids are more likely to develop asthma if theres a family history of allergies and asthma. This is especially true if a childs parents have asthma and certain allergies.

Types Of Infant Asthma

Allergies &  Asthma in Babies

There are many different types of asthma, each with different triggers and outcomes. From a broad perspective, asthma can be classified as either:

  • Allergic asthma, also known as atopic or extrinsic asthma, which is triggered by allergens such as pollen and certain foods
  • Non-allergic asthma, also known as non-atopic or extrinsic asthma, in which symptoms develop in the absence of allergy

The distinction is especially important in infants, the vast majority of whom will develop allergic asthma. As an atopic disorder , allergic asthma is often part of a progression of disorders referred to as the “atopic march.”

The atopic march classically begins with the development of atopic dermatitis , often in the first six months of life. This initial atopy triggers changes in an immature immune system that opens the door to food allergies, which in turn opens the door to allergic rhinitis and, finally, asthma.

The progression can either happen slowly over the course of years or rapidly during the first months of life.

With infant asthma, the early onset of symptoms is concerning as it is often predictive of more severe disease later in life. This is especially true when wheezing develops before the age of 3.

It’s important, to remember, however, that not every infant with eczema will develop asthma, and not every infant with asthma will have had eczema. Asthma is a complex disease for which many factors contribute to both the onset and severity of symptoms.

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Treating Your Childs Asthma

There are two types of medications commonly used to treat asthma: controller medications, meant to decrease the underlying inflammation and reliever, or rescue, medications, which calm the symptoms of an asthma exacerbation or attack, like coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath. There are a few kinds of controller medications, but the most commonly prescribed is a corticosteroid thats taken every day using an inhaler . Less commonly, daily pills are used to control asthma.

Asthma relievers, or rescue medications, are used to open up the airways when asthma symptoms, such as coughing or wheezing, are present. Ideally, your childs asthma will be well-controlled with an inhaled corticosteroid and these medications will not be used very often. Relievers are always taken by inhaler to get the medication to the lungs quickly.

Parents work closely with their childs doctor to make sure the medications are working as they should and to check whether the dose or type of medication needs adjusting.

Your doctor might give you something called an Asthma Action Plan, which outlines what medication your child should be taking on a regular basis and when to give the rescue inhaler or seek medical attention. It can be helpful to work with an asthma or respiratory educator who can help you fine-tune your understanding of the medications and symptoms, says Andrea White Markham, a registered respiratory therapist and certified respiratory educator.

Symptoms Of Asthma Emergencies In Children

The signs of an asthma emergency include when the child:

  • finds it very difficult to breathe or is not breathing
  • is unable to speak comfortably or complete sentences without losing breath
  • has lips turn blue
  • has symptoms that get worse very quickly
  • has tugging in of the skin between ribs or at the base of the neck
  • is getting little or no relief from their reliever inhaler, or their reliever inhaler is not available.

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If You Suspect You Might Have Asthma Definitely Head To The Doctor

Your doctor will probably give you a physical exam first to examine the general state of your health. After that, theyll likely put you through some lung function tests, such as a spirometry, which checks how much air you can exhale after taking a deep breath as well as how fast you can expel air, according to the Mayo Clinic. Or they may do a peak flow test, which measures how hard you can breathe out. If you cant exhale enough air or breathe out quickly, it may be a sign your lungs arent working well, which could point to asthma, Dr. Benzaquen says.

There are other exams they can use, too, like exposing you to methacholine, a known asthma trigger, to see if your airways narrow, or allergy testing, since allergies and asthma are so often connected.

If you are diagnosed with asthma, itll be within one of four categories, according to the Mayo Clinic. Mild intermittent asthma means you have minimal asthma symptoms for up to two days a week and up to two nights a month, while mild persistent asthma means youre experiencing symptoms more frequently than twice a week, but not more than once on any given day. Moderate persistent asthma ups the ante: Youre dealing with symptoms once a day and more than one night a week. Finally, severe persistent asthma involves constant symptoms most days and frequently at night too.

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What We Know About Asthma And Covid

How To Tell If Your Child Has Asthma

Asthma is a pre-existing lung condition affecting 1 in 13 people in the U.S. It can cause wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, and shortness of breath. Asthma can be controlled by taking medications and avoiding triggers.

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The virus affects cells in the airways, from the nose and throat down to the deepest parts of the lungs. In the nose and throat it might cause symptoms of a cold. In the upper airways, it might cause some breathlessness and cough. When the coronavirus lodges itself deep in the lungs, this is when things can start to get serious. Here, the coronavirus commonly causes a double lung infection, or bilateral pneumonia.

Interestingly, research so far does not suggest any link between having asthma and getting a more severe COVID-19 illness, or between asthma and coronavirus deaths.

Whether this is because the SARS-CoV-2 virus doesnt affect people with asthma in the same way as other respiratory viruses, or because there simply isnt enough data yet, remains to be seen.

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How Is Asthma Diagnosed In A Baby

It can be difficult for doctors to diagnose asthma in infants because it is not easy to measure lung function in children who are of preschool age or younger. Diagnosis will rely on the parents and the symptoms they report, as well as the familys medical history.

The doctor will ask about when your baby coughs or has trouble breathing. It may be helpful to take notes at home about the time of day and what your baby is exposed to when symptoms are present. Tell the doctor about any family members that have asthma or allergies.

Know The Signs Of Childhood Asthma

Asthma is one of many conditions for which no cure exists. While the condition can be managed and plenty of people can live a full life regardless of the respiratory condition, a positive outcome is only possible with proactive medical care. While adults can easily explain asthma symptoms to physicians, children might not be able to easily explain some of the stereotypical signs and symptoms to parents or a caregiver. So, parents need to be aware of the common signs that a child might have asthma.

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My Baby Is Wheezing Is It Asthma

My baby is wheezing. The doctor wants her to get breathing treatments through a . Im worried! Could she have asthma? Audrey

Probably not. Many babies and young children wheeze due to or viruses and dont develop when theyre older.

Young kids are more at risk for wheezing because their airways are very small. When they get a cold or other respiratory tract infection, these already small passages swell and fill with mucus much more easily than an older childs or an adults. This can cause wheezing, , and other symptoms that people with asthma get.

Another thing to consider is how often your baby wheezes. One instance of wheezing isnt enough to diagnose asthma. It must happen more than once. But even when wheezing happens a bunch of times, it still might not be asthma, especially in young children. Most kids who wheeze as infants outgrow it and dont have asthma when they get older. So doctors usually cant make an asthma diagnosis until children are older, by about age 4 or 5.

In the meantime, doctors will treat any asthma-like symptoms. They may prescribe asthma medicines, but probably wont officially diagnose a child with asthma unless symptoms continue.

  • wheezing that has happened more than once
  • long-lasting coughing or coughing that get worse at night or after active playing
  • any other breathing problem that concerns you

The doctor may ask if your child has breathing problems in different circumstances, such as during a cold or when exposed to:

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