Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide with an estimated 300 million affected individuals. Prevalence is increasing in many countries, especially in children. In childhood asthma, airways become easily inflamed when exposed to certain triggers, such as airborne pollen or cold or respiratory infection. Childhood asthma can cause bothersome daily symptoms that interfere with play, school and sleep and thus ultimately effects the performance of child in school. In some children, unmanaged asthma can cause dangerous asthma attacks. Unfortunately, childhood asthma can’t be cured, and symptoms may continue into adulthood. But with the right treatment, you and your child can keep symptoms under control and prevent from damage to growing lungs. It is important not to ignore early symptoms of asthma.
Common childhood asthma signs and symptoms include:
- Frequent, intermittent coughing
- A whistling or wheezing sound from chest
- Shortness of breath
- Chest congestion or tightness
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- Bouts of coughing or wheezing that get worse with a respiratory infection, such as a cold or the flu
- Delayed recovery or bronchitis after a respiratory infection
- Trouble breathing that may limit play or exercise
- Fatigue, which can be caused by poor sleep
The first signs of asthma in young children may be recurrent wheezing triggered by a respiratory virus. As children grow older, asthma associated with respiratory allergies is more common.
Asthma signs and symptoms vary from child to child, and may get worse or better over time. Your child may have only one sign or symptom, such as a lingering cough or chest congestion.
It may be difficult to tell whether your child’s symptoms are caused by asthma or something else. Periodic or long-lasting wheezing and other asthma-like symptoms may be caused by infectious bronchitis or another respiratory problem.
Asthma most commonly develops in early childhood. However, asthma can develop at any stage in life, including adulthood and old age.