Childhood asthma: What you need to know

June 26, 2018
  • By Mary Caldwell
  • For the AJC

For parents of children who have asthma, it's scary to see your child have trouble breathing. You'll want to learn what you can about this chronic condition so you can recognize the symptoms and help your child manage his or her asthma.

»RELATED: Why antacids — not an inhaler — may be the key to treating asthma

Here's a guide to what you need to know:

What is asthma, and how many kids have it?

About 6 million children in the U.S. have asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It's a chronic condition that causes the sides of the airways in the lungs to become too narrow so that too little air moves in and out of the lungs.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

When you think of asthma symptoms, you probably think of wheezing. Although that's definitely one of its signs and symptoms, WebMD says there are also others you'll want to look out for in your child, including the following:

Symptoms can vary from one child to another, or even from one episode to another for the same child.

How is asthma diagnosed?

If your child has one or more of the above symptoms, a pediatrician can help determine if your child has asthma. This is more difficult if your child is under 5, but in general, the following can aid in diagnosing or ruling out asthma:

»RELATED: Infants given antibiotics, antacids may have increased allergy, asthma risk

How is asthma treated?

You can help your child manage the following asthma treatments: