Approximately 25 million Americans, or 1 in 13, have asthma. Seven percent are children with asthma.
What is asthma?
Asthma is when airways become swollen and narrowed (inflamed). This makes breathing difficult.
What causes pediatric asthma?
Causes of asthma include viruses experienced as an infant: respiratory syncytial virus; bronchitis (sometimes called asthmatic bronchitis); bacteria; and significant allergic asthma.
Studies indicate that up to 90 percent of children suffer from allergies. Also, 80 percent of children with allergies may have an allergic predisposition such as asthma caused by exposure to pollen, animal dander and animal saliva, dust mites and mold spore allergens.
What are the symptoms of pediatric asthma?
Children with asthma may experience:
- Coughing. When airways are irritated and inflamed, a child cannot scratch them as they may with irritated, itchy skin. But they will cough. This makes coughing a potential first sign of an asthma issue.
- Shortness of breath. Either at rest and/or with exertion, such as induced with exercise.
- Wheezing. A distinct whistle-like sound when one breathes out.
- Chest irritation. Sometimes described as tightness when breathing out.
Contact your pediatrician if your child is experiencing any of these symptoms.
How is pediatric asthma treated?
An asthma/allergy specialist or pediatric pulmonologist will conduct further testing and treatment options like daily medication. Once diagnosed, they will also work with you and your child to create an action plan to help manage asthma, like recognizing triggers and using medicine correctly and safely while at school or playing sports.
Call 866-MY-LI-DOC (866-695-4362) to find a Catholic Health physician near you.