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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.
Typical symptoms of asthma in children include:
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:
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.
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.