Recognizing asthma in children can be difficult, particularly if they are too young to tell you how they feel. All children catch coughs and colds that affect their breathing, and running around all day can often leave them breathless. However, if you think that your child might have asthma it is important to see a doctor. If the symptoms are severe and your child is having trouble breathing you should seek emergency care immediately.


Symptoms of Asthma in Children

Typical symptoms of asthma in children include:

  • Fits of coughing that aren't caused by a cold, although being ill may make asthma symptoms worse
  • Wheezing or whistling sounds in the breath
  • Breathlessness
  • Complaining of tightness in the chest, like it's being squeezed

The symptoms usually come and go. It is a good idea to keep track of when they appear and what your child has been doing as this can help with the diagnosis. When symptoms are caused by asthma, you may notice that they:

  • Come and go frequently, in episodes
  • Get worse when your child is sleeping or after they wake up in the morning
  • Happen after your child has been playing sports or doing something active
  • Seem to be triggered by something specific, such as pollen or pet hair

Another clue that your child might have asthma is their family history. If a close family member has asthma, eczema or allergies, it can mean that a child is more likely to be affected by asthma.

Getting a Diagnosis

Diagnosing asthma in children can be tricky, particularly if your child is too young to explain how he or she feels. Unfortunately there is no simple test that can tell us whether your child has asthma. Instead, we have to look at the symptoms and think about when they happen. We might also perform some lung function tests or other checks. If we suspect that asthma is the likely cause of wheezing and other symptoms, we may even ask your child to try using the asthma medication for a while. If the symptoms improve, this will confirm that the cause was indeed asthma.

Professor Parviz Habibi Available At

The New Malden Diagnostic Centre

171 Clarence Avenue, Surrey, KT3 3TX

The Portland Hospital Out Patient Centre

205-209 Great Portland, Street London, W1W 5AH