Diagnosing babies and toddlers with asthma is challenging, because it’s difficult to measure lung function in this young group. What makes diagnosis easier is knowing your child’s symptoms. diagnosing asthma
Asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease in children and affects more than 6 million U.S. children. Despite being common, diagnosing asthma in children can be difficult because “there is no one-size-fits-all set of symptoms,” according to Dr. Harvey Leo, a pediatrics specialist who practices in Michigan.
A leading pediatrics group offers some tips for parents who suspect their infants or toddlers may have asthma or are having symptoms that could suggest another health condition.
If you’re wondering whether your child may have asthma, here are some tips and tell-tale signs to look for.
Talk with your child’s doctor
“A solid, ongoing relationship with your child’s health provider can help identify asthma risks and the best treatment for your child,” he said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.
You should tell your child’s doctor about any excessive cough, particularly a nighttime cough or a prolonged cough after a cold even if there is no wheezing. Coughing can be the only asthma symptom in some people. Share whether you have family members who have asthma, hay fever, eczema, recurrent bronchitis or sinus problems, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises.
An unexplained frequent cough or daily cough in infants means you should have your child evaluated by a pediatrician or pediatric pulmonologist because it could be a sign of a serious disease.
When trying to diagnose what’s causing the problem, your pediatrician will listen carefully to make sure that the sounds your baby is making are coming from the airways of the lungs, the AAP shares.
Sometimes babies breathe noisily as a result of laryngotracheomalacia, a temporary weakness in the cartilage near the vocal cords. They grow out of this as the tissues become firmer. Unusual conditions related to airway development or prematurity can also cause wheezing in infants.
Your child’s pediatrician isn’t likely to recommend allergy testing unless the wheezing always happens after exposure to an animal or certain food. Food allergy is rarely a cause of asthma in infants and toddlers. It may be a trigger for eczema, the AAP notes.
Your doctor may order a chest radiography during the baby’s first wheezing bout. If it’s determined that your child has asthma, that won’t