Does My Child Have Asthma?

asthma child

Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases your child could have, but can be effectively treated once it is properly diagnosed.

What are the Symptoms?

Presenting symptoms usually include wheezing (whistling sound when breathing in/out), coughing, chest tightness or shortness of breath. Common triggers are exercise, viral infections, environmental allergies (i.e. pollens, animals and molds), extreme temperatures or irritant exposures such as second-hand smoke, perfumes or strong odors. Undiagnosed asthma can lead to fatigue, missed school, frequent emergency-room visits and oral steroid use.

Treatment and Testing

An allergist can perform tests that will safely evaluate whether or not your child has asthma and then prescribe a customized treatment plan to help your child feel and function better. The asthma workup usually will include a thorough history and physical, a spirometry breathing test to measure lung volumes before and after an albuterol medication is given (to confirm hyper-reactive airways) and environmental allergy skin testing.

Medications

Medications to control asthma include short-acting bronchodilators like albuterol and daily controller medications such as montelukast (Singulair) or inhaled steroids.

Management of Asthma

Controlling allergy symptoms by avoiding triggers and using allergy medications and/or allergy immunotherapy (allergy shots) often will improve breathing symptoms, prevent asthma flares and improve the quality of life in allergic asthma. An asthma action plan will help clarify when to use the appropriate medications and when to seek further evaluation.

About the author

Timothy J. Campbell, M.D.

Dr. Timothy Cambell completed his undergraduate education in Psychology and Neuroscience at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, Ohio and received his M.D. at Northeast Ohio Medical University in Rootstown, Ohio in 2009. Tim completed his Internal Medicine residency at Summa Health System in Akron, Ohio and recently completed a fellowship in adult and pediatric Allergy, Asthma and Immunology at Cleveland Clinic, where he learned from some of the top contributors to the field.

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