To Confirm The Diagnosis The Following Tests May Be Performed
- Spirometry: a simple breathing test that gives measurement of lung function including a reversibility test that measures lung function before and after a dose of reliever to see if the medication has improved your lung function.
- Peak Expiratory Flow Rate : this is another simple breathing test which may be measured over a period of time such as when one has symptoms or is symptoms free. It can be performed by a G.P., in a hospital or even at home.
- Exercise Testing: this test is used to check if exercise makes your symptoms worse.
How To Diagnose Asthma In Children
Its not easy to diagnose asthma in children under five years old, as there are many different reasons for wheezing and coughing. They may also find breathing tests difficult.
A doctor will undertake a medical history and will ask parents about the childs symptoms. This could include:
- Chest pain or chest tightness
- The childs behaviour
Read more information about diagnosing asthma.
To help arrive at an accurate diagnosis, your doctor will ask about your childs symptoms and what you noticed about them, including the timing, frequency and severity. They will ask about your childs overall health and the presence and/or likelihood of asthma and allergies in the family. A doctor will check your child physically, called a physical examination. To determine a possible diagnosis, the doctor will connect all the pieces of information from this consultation and determine the most likely explanation, or diagnosis.
Sometimes to assist with an asthma diagnosis, a treatment trial is proposed. This involves starting asthma treatment and assessing whether it has been effective. This is usually a very safe approach using medicines with few or no side effects. It will potentially treat the symptoms and improve your childs condition.
We talk about what to expect and how to prepare for spirometry testing here.
Avoiding Childhood Asthma Triggers
To prevent asthma attacks or to keep them from getting worse, focus on known triggers with steps like these:
- DonÃ¢t let anyone smoke in your home or car.
- Clean bedding and carpets often to fight dust mites.
- Keep pets out of your childÃ¢s bedroom. An air filter can help with allergens.
- Get regular pest control to avoid cockroaches.
- Fix leaks and use dehumidifiers to prevent mold.
- DonÃ¢t use scented cleaning products or candles.
- Check daily air quality reports in your area.
- Help your child stay at a healthy weight.
- If they have heartburn, keep it under control.
- If exercise is a trigger, your childÃ¢s doctor might have your child use the inhaler 20 minutes before the activity to keep their airways open.
- Make sure they get a flu shot every year.
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How Do You Give Your Child Asthma Medication
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 child’s 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.
Risk Factors For Asthma
There are a number of risk factors that should be explored in the history of children who present with features of asthma. In symptomatic children, a personal or family history of atopic features, including asthma, eczema or rhinitis, supports a diagnosis of asthma. Some additional risk factors are outlined in . Education on modifiable risk factors, for example, exposure to secondhand smoke or air pollution and obesity, should be delivered routinely during consultations and asthma reviews. A range of social determinants that are linked to poverty impact on outcomes and the health of children with asthma.
Childhood Asthma Risk Factors
Asthma is the leading cause of long-term illness in children. It affects about 7 million kids in the United States. Those numbers have been going up, and experts arenÃ¢t sure why.
Most children have their first symptoms by age 5. But asthma can begin at any age.
Things that can make a child more likely to have asthma include:
- Exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke before or after birth
- African-American or Puerto Rican descent
- Being raised in a low-income environment
Can Asthma Be Cured
There is still much research that needs to be done to fully understand how to prevent, treat and cure asthma. Asthma Canadas National Research Program is committed to supporting leading asthma researchers and graduate student researchers working to expand our knowledge and one day, unlock a cure.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Asthma In Children
Diagnosing asthma in children under age 5 is a little different. It involves a careful process of history taking, physical exam, and diagnostic studies. Children this age usually are not given a breathing test. Instead, the doctor asks about certain signs and symptoms of asthma . The doctor may prescribe a bronchodilator if they think your child might have asthma. If the bronchodilator helps reduce your childs symptoms, that is a sign that your child may have asthma.
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What Can You Do If Your Child Has Been Diagnosed With Asthma
If your child has just been diagnosed with asthma, know that you are not alone. Asthma Canada and your healthcare team have many resources available to you.
- Start by learning as much as you can about the condition. Work closely with your childs healthcare provider to monitor your childs asthma symptoms. Ask questions and clarify any information you are unsure about.
- Reach out to Asthma Canadas FREE Asthma & Allergy HelpLine to speak with a Certified Respiratory Educator.
- Begin keeping a diary to keep track of what non-allergic triggers affect your childs asthma. This will help you identify your childs triggers, and develop strategies to avoid them.
- Learn all you can about your childs medications. This includes possible side effects of medication and the appropriate technique for administering medication.
- Ask you healthcare provider about developing a Kids Asthma Action Plan. And Asthma Action Plan monitors asthma symptoms and has a written plan to follow when symptoms change.
- Join Asthma Canadas membership alliance to connect with other Canadians living with asthma or impacted by asthma.
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Asthma Patterns In Children
Every childs asthma is different. Some children have mild, occasional episodes of asthma or only show symptoms after exercising, or when they have a cold. Some experience daily symptoms, while others have symptoms continuously, which limit their level of activity.
Each pattern of asthma requires a different treatment approach. It is important to remember that children can still have a severe and even life-threatening attack, even if they generally have mild or occasional asthma.
Does Your Child Have Any Of These Symptoms
Wheezing and/or Chest TightnessSometimes this takes place only with exercise or with a cold.
A young child who has frequent wheezing with colds or respiratory infections is more likely to have asthma if:
- A parent has asthma.
- The child shows signs of allergies, including the allergic skin condition eczema.
- The child wheezes even when he or she doesnt have a cold or other infection.
Frequent CoughMay be more common at night, and the child may or may not cough up mucus. You may notice your child is tired during the day, possibly due to lack of sleep.
Shortness of BreathThis is a feeling of not getting enough air into the lungs. It may occur only once in a while, or often. Shortness of breath can feel like tiredness or a decreased ability to do normal activities. Young children who are not yet verbal may experience feeding problems with shortness of breath while older children may describe tiredness, fatigue or just not being able to keep up with other kids their age.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Asthma In Children
Signs and symptoms of asthma in children include:
- Frequent coughing spells, which may occur while the child is playing, laughing, or at night or right after waking. Coughing may be the only symptom.
- Less energy during play.
- Complaint of chest tightness or the chest “hurting.”
- Whistling sound when the child is breathing in or out.
- Retractions in the chest from difficulty breathing.
- Shortness of breath or loss of breath.
- Tightened neck and chest muscles.
- Feelings of weakness or tiredness.
Not all children have the same asthma symptoms. Symptoms can vary from episode to episode in the same child. In addition, not all wheezing or coughing is caused by asthma.
If your child has problems breathing, take him or her to the pediatrician for an evaluation. Your child may be referred to a specialist, such as a pediatric pulmonary provider or a pediatric allergist.
Asthma Action Plans For Children
An asthma action plan is a clear written summary of instructions for when your childs asthma symptoms change. Everyone with asthma should have a personalised asthma action plan written by their doctor.
Your childs asthma action plan will tell you:
- how to recognise when your childs asthma is getting worse or an attack is developing, and the steps you should take to manage it
- symptoms that are serious, indicating a need for urgent medical help
- your childs asthma triggers.
Make sure you understand and can follow the asthma action plan from your doctor.
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Using Medicine As Prescribed Can Prevent Asthma Attacks
- Inhaled corticosteroids and other control medicines can prevent asthma attacks.
- Rescue inhalers or nebulizers can give quick relief of symptoms
- But . . . about half of children who are prescribed asthma control medicines do not use them regularly.
SOURCE: National Health Interview Survey, 2013.
The Federal government is
- Working with state, territorial, private and non-government partners to support medical management, asthma-self management education, and, for people at high risk, home visits to reduce triggers and help with asthma management. ,
- Providing guidelines, tools such as asthma action plans, and educational messages to help children, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals better manage asthma.
- Promoting policies and best practices to reduce exposure to indoor and outdoor asthma triggers such as tobacco smoke and air pollution.
- Tracking asthma rates and assuring efficient and effective use of resources invested in asthma services.
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are
Some payers/health insurance plans are
Parents and children are
Keep A Diary Of Your Childs Symptoms
Keep a diary of symptoms to discuss with your doctor. The diary could include:
- a video or audio recording of the wheezing you could use your mobile phone
- when the symptoms occur such as during the day or worse at night
- how bad the symptoms are and how often they happen
- how long the symptoms remain and whether they change with time
- whether the symptoms are worse after exercise, playing or after an infection
- whether the symptoms are worse after exposure to animals, pollens or mould.
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Medical And Home Treatments
According to Healthline treatments for asthma in babies is provided in inhaled forms. This includes medicines being given through a nebulizer or inhaler. With a nebulizer, the child wears a facemask and the liquid medicine is delivered through a mist that the child breathes in. The goal of the medicine is to open the airways and reduce inflammation so the childs breathing returns to normal.
A common quick-relief drug is albuterol . Its one of a class of drugs known as bronchodilators. They help relax the airways to make breathing easier. Long-term medications include corticosteroids and leukotriene modifiers .
Parents can help their child experience fewer asthma symptoms by doing some simple things at home. Cover your childs mattress with an allergy-proof casing to keep away dust and irritants. Also, wash bed linens and stuffed toys weekly and vacuum regularly to remove dust and dust mites. Also, using an air purifier at home will help reduce any dust or pet dander in the home. Should you have any pets, keep them out of the bedrooms. Likewise, keep your home clear from any smoke and keep your child away from any smokers away from home.
It is critical to seek a medical professional if your child is experiencing symptoms of asthma. There are successful treatment plans that will enable your child to remain healthy and symptom-free.
What Kind Of Physician Treats Adult Onset Asthma
Many older patients are treated for asthma by their internist or family physician however, if your asthma symptoms are not under control within three to six months, or if you have severe persistent asthma, or if you are having asthma episodes that need emergency treatment, it may be time to see an asthma specialist. Allergists/Immunologists or pulmonologists are specialists who treat asthma. Those who have completed training in those specialties are usually called board-certified or board-eligible.
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How Is Asthma Treatment Different For Older Children
Sometimes when asthma is suspected, the doctor will put your child on a trial of asthma medication to see if it helps. If your child gets better while taking the medicine, it can be a signal that your childs symptoms are due to asthma. The medication will depend on how severe your childs symptoms are and how often they occur.
The goal of treatment for children include:
- Managing the childs environment to avoid triggers
- Treating the airway inflammation and bronchospasm with medication
- Keeping asthma in control so activity does not need to be limited
- Teaching the child about asthma, their medications and how to be as healthy as possible in a way they can understand
When administering medication to your child, make sure to follow the instructions given to you by your doctor and on the package insert.
What Kinds Of Medicines Are Used To Treat Asthma
Some people need to take one or more types of medication daily for their asthma and others may not need to take any except when their asthma is bothersome. Your health care provider will decide what medications you need to take.
The two main components of asthma are bronchoconstriction tightening of the muscles around your airways, and inflammation or swelling inside your airways.
Albuterol also known as your rescue or quick reliever medicine will relax the muscles around your airways. There are 3 brands of Albuterol ProAir®, Proventil®, and Ventolin®. They all have the same ingredients and work the same way. Controller medications are medicines that you need to take every day to decrease the swelling in your airways. Controller medications can be inhalers such as Flovent®, Pulmicort®, Asmanex®, QVAR®, Alvesco®, Aerospan®, Advair®, Dulera®, Arnuity, Breo® or Symbicort® or perhaps a pill such as Montelukast or Singulair. Your health care provider will teach you how and when to use your medicine.
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Which Children Are At Risk For Asthma
Certain factors raise the risk of asthma in children:
- Being exposed to secondhand smoke when their mother is pregnant with them or when they are small children
- Genetics and family history. Children are more likely to have asthma if one of their parents has it, especially if it’s the mother.
- Race or ethnicity. Black and African Americans and Puerto Ricans are at higher risk of asthma than people of other races or ethnicities.
- Having other diseases or conditions such as obesity and allergies
- Often having viral respiratory infections as young children
- Sex. In children, asthma is more common in boys. In teens, it is more common in girls.
What Looks Like Asthma But Isnt
Its actually asthma, but its brought on by something other than allergens, such as air pollution or cold air. These types of asthma attacks last longer and may be more severe than asthma brought on by allergens. But they can be just as dangerous. People with this type of asthma may need to be treated with asthma medications year-round..
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Position Statement Development Process
A joint working group was formed with the mandate to develop a position paper on the diagnosis and management of asthma in preschoolers. The group included academic and community-based pediatricians, pediatric respirologists, a pediatric allergist and a family physician with combined expertise in pediatric acute and chronic asthma care, as well as knowledge translation.
The document was developed in accordance with Canadian Thoracic Society requirements for a position paper. A scientific literature review was conducted and key messages were agreed on by unanimous consensus through extensive discussions based on review of the evidence and existing guidelines. The completed document was subsequently sent for external review to four experts, as well as the CTS Canadian Respiratory Guidelines Committee, and the Canadian Paediatric Society Community Paediatrics Committee and Respiratory Health Section Executive. The final document was then approved for publication by the CTS Executive and the Canadian Paediatric Society Board of Directors.