Diagnosing asthma can be tricky, particularly when the symptoms first appear at a very young age. However, with the help of a respiratory specialist it is possible to confirm the diagnosis and get the treatment your child needs.
When to See a Doctor
Asthma in children can be difficult to spot because the symptoms it causes are often very similar to a cold or chest infection. You might notice that your child often has a cough, even when they don’t have any other symptoms of a cold. Another sign that your child might have asthma is wheezing, which may happen when your child is active or running around. If you notice these kinds of symptoms, it is a good idea to see a doctor. However, if you notice more severe symptoms of asthma in children such as difficulty breathing, you should go to the nearest A&E. A severe asthma attack requires urgent treatment.
Getting the Diagnosis
When you see a doctor about possible asthma symptoms, they will ask about your child’s health and medical history. It is particularly useful to know if there are any triggers that seem to bring the symptoms on, such as exercise or pollen. The doctor will probably also want to listen to your child’s chest with a stethoscope to check for any wheezing noises. If your child is old enough, the doctor may recommend some additional tests such as spirometry to check their lungs. However, it isn’t always possible to confirm asthma in children under five as they may not be able to complete these tests. The doctor may recommend regular check ups or a trial of asthma medication to see if it helps with the symptoms. If it does, then the diagnosis of asthma can be confirmed and your doctor will advise you on treating and preventing asthma attacks so that you can manage the condition.