Childhood asthma isn’t a different disease from asthma in adults, but children do face unique challenges. Asthma in children is a leading cause of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and missed school days. Unfortunately, childhood asthma can’t be cured, and symptoms may continue into adulthood. But with the right treatment, you and your child can keep symptoms under control and prevent damage to growing lungs.
In childhood asthma, the lungs and airways become easily inflamed when exposed to certain triggers, such as inhaling airborne pollen or catching a cold or another respiratory infection. In some children, unmanaged asthma can cause dangerous asthma attacks.
Common childhood asthma signs and symptoms include:
Frequent, intermittent coughing
A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
Shortness of breath
Chest congestion or tightness
Chest pain, particularly in younger children
The first signs of asthma in young children may be recurrent wheezing triggered by a respiratory virus. As children grow older, asthma associated with respiratory allergies is more common.
Asthma signs and symptoms vary from child to child, and may get worse or better over time. Your child may have only one sign or symptom, such as a lingering cough or chest congestion.
In children 5 years of age and older, doctors diagnose asthma with the same tests used to identify the disease in adults. Lung function tests (spirometry) measure how quickly and how much air your child can exhale. Your child may have lung function tests at rest, after exercising and after taking asthma medication.
Medical reference for childhood asthma: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/childhood-asthma