Important Information on Childhood Asthma

Making a Diagnosis

Asthma can be difficult to diagnose, especially in children under 5 years old. Regular physical exams that include checks of lung function and allergy tests can help make an asthma diagnosis.
 
A healthcare provider trying to diagnose asthma will likely ask you questions about your child's coughing, especially coughing at night, and whether breathing problems are worse after physical activity or during a particular time of year. Healthcare providers may also ask about other symptoms, such as:
 
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing
  • Colds that last more than 10 days.
 
Your healthcare provider may ask about a family history of asthma, allergies, and other breathing problems, as well as the home environment. He or she also will also ask about lost school days and limits on your child's activities.
 

Treating Asthma in Children

The main goal of asthma treatment is to prevent asthma attacks by identifying the triggers that cause symptoms of asthma and avoiding them. When an asthma attack occurs, there are "rescue" medications that are used to relieve symptoms. These medications are typically bronchodilators that open up the airway to allow for easier breathing. Severe asthma attacks should be evaluated by a medical professional and may require hospitalization.
 

Is There a Cure for Childhood Asthma?

Currently, there are no preventive measures available for childhood asthma, and there is no cure for the condition; however, children and adolescents who have asthma can still lead full, productive lives if they control their asthma.
 
Asthma can be controlled by taking medication and by avoiding contact with environmental triggers for asthma. Environmental triggers include:
 
  • Cockroaches
  • Dust mites
  • Furry pets
  • Mold
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Certain chemicals.
 
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