Does Your Child Have Asthma?

Asthma is the leading cause of chronic (long-term) illness in children.  It affects more than 7 million children in the United States and steadily increasing.  Asthma can begin at any age, but most children experience their first symptom by age 5. No one knows why more and more children are developing asthma.  A few reasons why more children are developing asthma year over year is: 

  • Children are being exposed to more allergens such as dust, air pollution, and second-hand (and even third-hand) smoke.

  • Children are not exposed to enough childhood illnesses to build up their immune systems.

  • Lower rates of breastfeeding have prevented important substances of the immune system from being passed on to babies.

What makes a child more likely to develop asthma? 

There are many risk factors for developing childhood asthma. Including: 

  • Allergies

  • Family history of asthma, allergies, and atrophy (a genetic, or inherited, likelihood to develop allergies and asthma)

  • Frequent respiratory infections

  • Low birth weight

  • Exposure to tobacco smoke before and/or after birth

  • Being male

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.

  • Less energy during play

  • Rapid breathing

  • The complaint of chest tightness or the chest “hurting”

  • Whistling sound (wheezing) when the child is breathing in or out

  • Retractions (see-saw motions) 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.  If your child has been diagnosed with asthma or shows symptoms, they must undergo a complete evaluation with a pediatric specialist.  Contact us today to schedule an evaluation for your child.