Asthma Home > Asthma and Childhood

Unfortunately, asthma is becoming more common in children. It is thought that children who have asthmatic symptoms only when they are sick with colds and other upper respiratory infections tend to see an improvement with age. There are several reliable treatment methods for asthma, and childhood asthma is something that many people often outgrow.

An Introduction to Asthma in Childhood

Childhood asthma may present similarly to or differently from asthma in adults. A child's symptoms may include the classic asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing (a whistling sound when he or she breathes), shortness of breath, chest tightness, and/or mucus production. However, asthma in younger children may also present with:
 
  • Repeated episodes of bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia, and croup
  • Chronic coughing with colds (upper respiratory tract infections)
  • Recurrent chest congestion.
     

Symptoms of an Asthma Attack

During an acute attack of asthma, your child may experience different symptoms, depending on the severity of the attack. Symptoms according to severity include:
 
  • Mild: Your child may become short of breath only after physical activity but is able to speak in full sentences.
     
  • Moderate: Your child may be short of breath while speaking. Infants may present with a softer and shorter cry than usual or difficulty feeding.
     
  • Severe: Your child may be sitting upright, breathless, and communicating with single word rather than full sentences.
     
  • Respiratory failure (also known as status asthmaticus): Your child may be drowsy and confused in addition to the previously described symptoms. This is a medical emergency.
     
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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