Asthma is a long-term (chronic) lung disease that causes your child's airways to become sensitive to certain things (triggers). Several things happen to the airways when a child is exposed to triggers:
All of these things will cause the airways to narrow. This makes it difficult for air to go in and out of your child’s lungs and causes the symptoms of asthma.
A child is more likely to get asthma if he or she:
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. Children with asthma have times when they have few, if any symptoms. They also have times when symptoms flare up. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of asthma can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
To diagnose asthma, your child’s healthcare provider may recommend these tests:
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Your child’s healthcare provider may refer you to a pulmonologist. This is a doctor with special training to treat lung conditions. Your child may also be referred to an asthma and allergy specialist. Your child’s treatment is based on how severe his or her symptoms are and how easily they are controlled. Treatment includes finding triggers and ways to avoid them. It will also include medicines.
Asthma medicines include:
Asthma that is not well controlled may cause:
Asthma can’t be completely prevented. There are steps you can take to reduce the chance of your child developing asthma. They include:
In most children, asthma flare-ups can be prevented by:
You can help manage your child’s asthma by:
Work with your child’s healthcare provider to find the best way to take care of your child’s asthma. There are guidelines for children from newborn to age 4, ages 5 to 11, and ages 12 and older.
The more information a person with asthma has, the better the asthma can be controlled.
Call your child’s healthcare provider if your child’s symptoms are not well-controlled. For example, your child is waking at night with symptoms or is having trouble with daily activities.
Call your child’s healthcare provider or get medical help right away if your child has severe symptoms. These severe symptoms can include trouble:
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