What to Know About Asthma in a Child

Asthma in a child is normally diagnosed even before the child reaches school age. In younger children, asthma attacks are normally triggered by viruses, however as children grow and tend to spend more time outdoors the asthma triggers change.

In later childhood, asthma in a child is normally triggered by allergies; no matter what the triggers are, asthma in a child is a serious concern for many parents.

Children under the Age of 5

Since 80% of all asthma cases are diagnosed before a child starts school, this means that only 20% of those diagnosed are over the age of 5 at the time of the diagnoses. Asthma in a child of this young age can often be confused with the common cold and bronchitis. For this reason, it is important to work closely with the child’s pediatrician in evaluating symptoms. If preventative measures are taken against asthma in a child this young, they have a better chance at leading a normal life.

Signs & Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of asthma in a child can be very different than those seen in adult sufferers of asthma. Every parent should know what to watch for if asthma in a child is suspected. Frequent signs of asthma in a child can include coughing, with or without wheezing, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, and also chest tightness.

If the child has recently gotten over a cold and the cough seems to be lingering, this could be a sign of asthma. If the child’s symptoms are worsened by changes in the weather, laughing or crying, or strong perfumes or odors, or if the symptoms appear to become worse at night, the child should be evaluated by a physician.


Treating asthma in a child can be quite effective if medical instructions are followed precisely. There are also a number of medications on the market that are very safe to use to control asthma in a child. For a very young child, medications are normally administered with a nebulizer.

This is a small, portable machine that turns a liquid medicine into a fine mist that can then be inhaled through the child’s mouth and nose. Children with asthma usually respond well to treatment, and grow up to be healthy, strong adults.

While asthma in a child can be a parent’s worse nightmare, a happy ending is possible. Know the signs of asthma in a child, and be prepared to work with your child’s pediatrician in working to control it.