When your child has an asthma attack, the airways inside their lungs become inflamed, swelling up and reducing the room available for the movement of air in and out of the body. This inflammation can also produce mucus, further complicating the passage of air.
Asthma can be mild or severe, and while it’s the same disease that adult asthmatics face, children have unique challenges as their developing bodies learn to cope. Enlist the asthma specialists at Katy Pediatric Associates as part of your child’s asthma management team.
Perhaps the classic symptom of asthma in children is the characteristic wheezing or whistling that accompanies exhalation. This can occur even when your child is resting, and it results from the narrowing of inflamed airways.
However, it’s not the only symptom your child might have, and some asthmatic children may not wheeze at all. Asthma tends to look slightly different in every patient. Other signs your child may have asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest congestion without a respiratory infection
- Dry coughing
- Wheezing or coughing that gets worse during a cold or flu
- Shortness of breath that interferes with play, sports, or other activities
- Sleeping difficulties that may be due to coughing and wheezing
- Daytime fatigue due to poor sleep
When to seek medical help
Sometimes, the symptoms of asthma may resemble bronchitis or other respiratory problems, so you’ll need help from the experts at Katy Pediatric Associates to pinpoint asthma as the cause of your child’s distress.
Watch for signs or complaints of frequent coughing. Any strong emotional reaction, for example, could trigger a coughing spell. Your child may cough while sleeping without being aware, so nighttime observation often helps. A combination of frequent and persistent coughing with any of the symptoms listed above is reason for a pediatrician visit.
Though some children outgrow asthma symptoms, it’s not a curable condition. Treatment focuses on control and reduction of asthma attacks, and as such, it’s a blend of treatment and prevention. When possible, alter your child’s environment to reduce asthma triggers, including:
- Eliminate exposure to tobacco smoke
- Increase air filtration in the home
- Reduce exposure to pet dander
- Avoid dusty conditions, indoors or outdoors
- Reduce exposure to cold air during winter months
- Use dehumidifiers during humid conditions
- Use air conditioners during periods of high pollen counts
Typically, an asthma plan includes both quick-relief and long-term medications. Be sure to understand the role of each type of medication, and ensure that you follow your diagnosing pediatrician’s instructions for their use. The right combination of medications varies between asthma patients, so what works for one child may not for another.
Controlling childhood asthma is not only possible, it’s also important for limiting the harmful effects on your child both today and in the future. Contact Katy Pediatric Associates to create or review your child’s asthma management plan. You can call the office directly at 281-492-7676, or use the online booking tool. Both you and your child will breathe easier.