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Asthma

Asthma in children is a condition that can lead to serious complications. A pediatric ear, nose and throat specialist can diagnose asthma, and there are numerous treatment options available. Find out about the symptoms and solutions of asthma.

Causes and Concerns

Asthma is a condition that makes it hard for your child to breathe due to swelling and inflammation of the airway structures. Airways become tight and narrow during an asthma attack, leading to breathing difficulty, as air is unable to pass through the lungs. Attacks can also range in severity from a minor to severe. While the cause of asthma is unknown, there are things that put your child at risk for developing this condition. These include:

  • Heredity: Usually runs in the family
  • Allergies: Associated with this condition
  • Environment: Pollution and other factors
  • Certain airway infections at a young age

Symptoms and Signs

If you suspect your child has asthma, you should consider scheduling an appointment with one of our caring pediatric asthma specialists. There are a few different symptoms related to asthma, and these can become worse at night and during allergy season. These include:

  • Coughing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Wheezing
  • Fatigue during physical activity
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Solutions and Options

A doctor can diagnose asthma by examining the child and performing some tests. These tests will help the doctor determine the extent of the disease. Some of the tests are spirometry, peak airflow, x-rays and allergy testing. Spirometry is a test that measures the airflow in and out of the child’s lungs. Peak airflow measures how hard the child can breathe out. X-rays are often done to rule out infections. Also, allergy testing helps the doctor determine the allergen that is causing the symptoms.

Because asthma does restrict the airways, trouble breathing is a main symptom, and this can often scare the child. Asthma can be controlled long term, however, through the use of medications and an action plan. You may be asked to track your child’s symptoms and progress through a chart and report it to your doctor. It is typical for a child to be on a corticosteroid medication daily to help reduce the number and frequency of attacks.

Asthma can also be treated at the time of the attack. Severe asthma attacks are life threatening and require immediate medical attention. The doctor will prescribe a quick acting medication (albuterol) for your child to use during a severe attack.

Monitoring your child is proper protocol with asthma. You need to make sure that the medication works to keep the asthma attacks under control. Medical attention is necessary for a severe asthma attack. With proper care, you can help your child manage his or her asthma. Come in to see one of our pediatric ENT specialists and the doctor will work with you to help find a solution to your child’s symptoms.