Asthma & Breathing

Asthma is a respiratory condition that causes the airways to become constricted.

What is Asthma? (A Guide for Parents)

Asthma is a respiratory condition that makes it hard to breathe. It causes airways to narrow and get inflamed. Asthma symptoms can be mild to severe, and sometimes even life-threatening.

We don't know the exact cause of asthma, but it's likely a mix of genes and the environment. It often runs in families and is more common in kids living in polluted areas.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Asthma symptoms vary. Some kids have rare attacks, maybe only during exercise. Others have them nearly all the time. Common signs include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Whistling sound when breathing out

Exercise, allergies, and other triggers can set off asthma symptoms.

How is asthma diagnosed?

Your doctor will rule out other issues like infections, then test your child's lungs to see how well they breathe. Other possible tests include allergy checks and X-rays.

How is asthma treated?

The best treatment is avoiding triggers that cause attacks. Your doctor will help you figure these out. There are two main types of asthma medication:

  • Long-term control: Like inhaled corticosteroids, to prevent flare-ups
  • Quick-relief: For fast help during an attack
  • Allergy meds: If allergies are a trigger

Can children outgrow asthma?

There's no cure, but some kids have fewer symptoms as they age. This might be because their airways grow larger as they get older.