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Detecting Asthma in Toddlers

written by: Jennifer Gonzalez • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 3/16/2011

Detecting asthma in toddlers can be a hard task for many parents. Asthma symptoms in children often disguises itself as other conditions such as an upper respiratory infection. There are specific signs and symptoms to look for that will help determine if your child has asthma.

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    Childhood Asthma

    Asthma is a condition that makes it hard for someone to breathe. Their airways become constricted and taking a breath seems impossible. The condition has different forms and varies from person to person. Not one case of asthma is the same. This condition affects a wide range of people, and children and babies are not out of its radar. Currently in the United States there are over 5 million children that deal with having asthma daily, and that number continues to grow. Although this is such a predominate condition many parents do not know what to look for when detecting asthma in toddlers. The symptoms of asthma are very similar to that of a cough or cold which makes it difficult for a parent to tell the difference between a child having allergies, a cold or asthma. Although this is a hard condition to diagnose in a small child, there are some signs and symptoms a parent can look out for.

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    What to Look For

    When trying to detect asthma in toddlers it's important to watch out for repeated symptoms. These are things that seem to clear up and then come back again and again, suddenly and without reason. Some symptoms to look out for when trying to detect asthma are:

    • Coughing is the biggest symptom (other than trouble breathing) to look for in asthma. Chronic cough, especially at night is the number one diagnosis of a child with asthma.
    • Dry cough
    • Wheezing while the child breathes
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Tightening of the chest
    • Chest pain
    • Recurrent bronchitis or other respiratory infections
    • Long lasting coughs or colds
    • Trouble sleeping
    • Unable to keep up with other kids while being active

    If you notice that your child has any of these symptoms, make an appointment to speak with your child’s doctor. Your child’s doctor will see your child, or they will refer you to see a specialist. At the appointment the doctor will be able to examine the child and perform proper testing to diagnose the condition. During the appointment you will most likely be asked a series of questions about your child’s surroundings such as if they have pets in the home, or if anyone smokes around the child. These questions are asked to determine if your child has asthma and if it could be allergy related. Every type of asthma has its own triggers, but allergy asthma is a form of asthma that is triggered by a person’s allergens such as dust, smoke, pet hair, pet dander, pollen and more. Once the child has been diagnosed with asthma they will be placed on a medication that will help to treat and prevent the symptoms.

    Asthma is a serious condition, but with proper care and treatment a child can still maintain a normal life. In many cases, asthma that was diagnosed during childhood is outgrown by the time the child becomes an adult.

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    References

    Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: Childhood Asthma- http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&sub=16&cont=44

    Keep Kids Healthy: Asthma Symptoms- http://www.keepkidshealthy.com/symptoms/asthma_symptoms.html