What is asthma?
Asthma is essentially a condition in which the airways are more sensitive, or ‘twitchy’. Asthma triggers can vary from patient to patient. Colds, weather changes, vigorous exercise, tobacco smoke exposure, and allergens such as cat, dog, or dust mite exposure are common triggers.
Learning to manage exposure to asthma triggers can go a long way in controlling asthma symptoms of coughing and wheezing.
How do I know if my child has asthma?
If your child experiences frequent asthma symptoms, a referral to a Pediatrics Northwest Asthma Specialist may be helpful in identifying asthma triggers and determining best options for asthma medications.
The Childhood Asthma Control Test is a way to help your child’s healthcare provider determine if your child’s asthma symptoms are well controlled. Share the results with your child’s healthcare provider.
Childhood Asthma Control Test*
Children 4 to 11 years oldTake the test
Asthma Control Test™
Adults and adolescents 12 years or olderTake the test
The effect of asthma on children
Asthma is a common childhood illness that may take many different forms – some children have daily symptoms, miss school, and have difficulty with exertion, but much more commonly asthma presents in a milder fashion.
Some children do well for weeks at a time, but any cold will go ‘straight to their chest’, with coughing and chest congestion for several weeks on end. Other children may experience shortness of breath with vigorous exercise and have to slow down in PE class or on sports teams. Sometimes younger children may get a diagnosis of ‘reactive airways disease’ or get diagnosed with recurrent pneumonia. It is important to know that there is no cure for asthma, but that good treatment is available which can keep symptoms under control, sometimes for months or even years at a time.
With proper management, children should be able to be fully active – asthma should not be a frequent cause of school absences or night waking.
A great community resource is the Clean Air for Kids program, which provides for an asthma specialist to evaluate the home environment, provide asthma education, and provide supplies.
Please discuss your child’s respiratory symptoms with his or her Pediatrics Northwest provider if you have concerns. You may also visit our Allergy & Asthma Center.