Asthma (AZ-ma) is a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.
Asthma affects people of all ages, but it most often starts during childhood. In the United States, more than 25 million people are known to have asthma. About 7 million of these people are children.
To understand asthma, it helps to know how the airways work. The airways are tubes that carry air into and out of your lungs. People who have asthma have inflamed airways. This makes them swollen and very sensitive. They tend to react strongly to certain inhaled substances.
When the airways react, the muscles around them tighten. This narrows the airways, causing less air to flow into the lungs. The swelling also can worsen, making the airways even narrower. Cells in the airways might make more mucus than usual. Mucus is a sticky, thick liquid that can further narrow the airways.
This chain reaction can result in asthma symptoms. Symptoms can happen each time the airways are inflamed.
Asthma is nothing to play around with, one of sons had it really bad in his younger years in and out of the hospital meds after meds now my youngest whom is 5 is suffering from it to. He has been out of school of 3 days now coughing wheezing and fever as well. I am doing breathing treatments every 4 hours it was every 2 hours. We go to a specialist tomorrow and get this under control I cant wait I am tired of seeing my son suffer. Hopefully he is placed on a daily med to help from future attacks well I am sure they are they did it with my other son. My little one can not run and play like other kids with out shortness of breath and coughing. Though he has his good days and you could not tell he even has it other days he looks like walking death and it hurts me as a mother to see him like that and saying mom I can not breath.
Do you have asthma or know someone with it? It really sucks. I feel for all that suffer from it. Enjoying everyday activities is hard.
Asthma has no cure. Even when you feel fine, you still have the disease and it can flare up at any time.
How Can I Tell if my Child Has Asthma?
Not all children have the same asthma symptoms, and these symptoms can vary from episode to episode in the same child. Possible signs and symptoms of asthma in children include:
- Frequent coughing spells, which may occur during play, at night, or while laughing or crying
- A chronic cough (which may be the only symptom)
- Less energy during play
- Rapid breathing (intermittently)
- Complaint of chest tightness or chest "hurting"
- Whistling sound when breathing in or out -- called wheezing.
- See-saw motions in the chest from labored breathing. These motions are called retractions.
- Shortness of breath, loss of breath
- Tightened neck and chest muscles
- Feelings of weakness or tiredness
While these are some symptoms of asthma in children, your child's doctor should evaluate any illness that complicates your child's breathing. About half of infants and toddlers with repeated episodes of wheezing with shortness of breath or cough (even though these illnesses usually respond to asthma medications) will not have asthma by the age of 6.