Asthma Information for Parents

Asthma Article

Asthma is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States.

When a child has asthma, his or her airways become inflamed and narrowed. This inflammation makes it harder for air to flow in and out of the lungs, making it more difficult to breathe.

The most common asthma symptoms in children are coughing and wheezing. Other asthma symptoms in children include shortness of breath (difficulty breathing) and chest tightness.

A young child who has frequent wheezing with colds or respiratory infections is more likely to have asthma if:

  • one of their parents also has asthma
  • they show signs of allergies, including the allergic skin condition eczema
  • they wheeze even when he or she doesn't have a cold or other infection
  • Irritants that bring on asthma symptoms are called "asthma triggers." You need to understand what these triggers are, and how to avoid them. Some things to consider:

    • Secondhand smoke is an asthma trigger. Smoke is harmful to everyone, but especially children with asthma.
    • Pets with fur and feathers can be an asthma trigger.
    • A common trigger for children is also exercise.

    Although there is no cure for asthma, it can be controlled. Controlling your child's asthma will mean:

    • Performing daily activities without difficulty.
    • Being able to go to school every day.
    • Preventing chronic symptoms.
    • Avoiding urgent visits to the doctor or hospital.
    • Using medications with no side effects.