What Parents Want to Know About Asthma

If you think your child has asthma, you may have a few questions. How is asthma diagnosed? Can you outgrow asthma? What are common asthma medications? Lila Kurtz answers these questions and more in this week’s episode of Mom Docs.

How is asthma diagnosed?

Doctors look for recurring episodes of coughing or wheezing when diagnosing asthma in children. The first coughing or wheezing event typically is not enough for an asthma diagnosis.

What asthma medications are prescribed?

All children and infants receive albuterol as treatment for asthma. Albuterol will relieve cough, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. In severe cases, treatment for asthma includes inhaled corticosteroids.

What kinds of tests will my child receive?

Lung function testing begins around age 5 and is monitored with each visit.

Can children outgrow asthma?

It is possible for asthma to go away. However, children with a history of allergy are at risk for not outgrowing asthma.

When should I talk to a doctor about asthma?

If you have concerns about your child’s recurring cough, wheeze, or shortness of breath, it’s time talk to your pediatrician to see if asthma is a potential diagnosis.

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Subtitles/Closed Captions:

Asthma’s not typically diagnosed with the first episode of cough or wheeze, but rather we look for a pattern of recurrent cough or wheeze in all children, especially those that are young, such as toddlers. All children and infants who have asthma are prescribed medicine called albuterol which is used for rescue – to help take away cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness. If your child’s asthma is more severe, then it’s likely he or she is prescribed other medications such as inhaled corticosteroids. Parents can have fears about inhaled corticosteroids but we have to remember that if your child has a history of recurrent cough and/or wheeze, the benefits of the inhaled steroids usually outweigh the potential risks. There are other types of medications that can be used for treatment of asthma as well. If your child’s asthma is more severe or not well controlled on inhaled steroids alone, talking to your pediatrician or your allergist or pulmonologist is extremely important to figure out the right regimen for your particular child. Lung function testing is typically
started around age 5 and is monitored with each visit as you come to see your allergist or pulmonologist. It is possible that your child could outgrow his or her asthma. Children who have a history of allergy, and we confirm this either with in testing or blood work, are considered at risk for not outgrowing their asthma. If you have concerns about your child having recurrent cough, wheeze shortness of breath, difficulty while they’re in P.E. class or on the soccer field, it’s important that you talk to your pediatrician to see if asthma is a potential diagnosis and, if so, is your child in need of expert care with an allergist pulmonologist.

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