Wheezing, Coughing and Other Signs of Asthma

Is your child’s cough hanging on longer than normal? Then you may want to have him checked for asthma.

Most of us associate asthma with attacks that leave children wheezing and having difficulty breathing. But asthma can often be detected before it gets to this state. One sign of asthma in a child is a cough that goes on long after a cold is over, explains pediatrician and asthma specialist Dr. Barry Zimmerman. “Asthma is a bit like an iceberg. Once a child wheezes, that’s the tip of the iceberg, and everybody can make the diagnosis. But really what a parent should think about is, every time a child gets a cold does it get into their chest and leave them coughing for a few weeks? One out of five children gets a cold that hangs around, and in theses cases asthma should be considered.”

In most cases, asthma symptoms develop before age five. Once asthma is diagnosed, most physicians will prescribe medication to open airways and decrease inflammation. Dr. Zimmerman stresses that it’s important that these medications are used at the first sign of an attack. “You fight asthma like a fire, when it’s a few sparks and not an inferno. There should be none of the sudden, acute attacks. If a child requires the use of the bronchodilator a lot and has sudden episodes, then the inflammation and asthma are not being controlled.”

Pediatric respiratory specialist Dr. Stephen Kent adds that while medication is vital, it’s also important to be aware of what triggers your child’s asthma attacks such as dust mites, pollen or animal dander. “The important first for parents is to control the environment as best as they can, including controlling the humidity so it doesn’t go above 50% which is conducive to the growth of mold and dust mites, removing dust catchers, pets in the child’s room and second hand smoke altogether.”

If you suspect your child has asthma, have him or her seen by a physician. Asthma can be a serious condition if left untreated.


Adapted from The Parent Report Radio Show. Any advice or information contained herein should never be a substitute for professional and/or medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. For more information please review Terms of Service.

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