Unfortunately, diagnosing asthma in children can take longer than it would for an adult. Many times, their symptoms go unnoticed or are mistaken as something else by parents and doctors. It can be increasingly difficult if they are too young to communicate their symptoms. Too often, it is only after multiple attacks that your doctor will send your child to have a breathing test. Should you be asking for it sooner? Here’s what you need to know about getting your child the treatment they need.
Children aren’t always able to accurately describe their symptoms, if they are old enough to talk at all. Yet, 8.3 percent have been diagnosed with asthma. It’s important to understand some signs of asthma so you know what to look for in children. These signs should also be discussed with your doctor.
- Chronic Coughing
- Quickened Breathing
- Excessive Tiredness
- Shortness of Breath
How It’s Diagnosed
If you notice these symptoms or anything else that makes you think your child may have asthma, it’s time to take them in and insist on testing. It shouldn’t take multiple asthma attacks for your doctor to conduct a breathing test. 47.5 percent of children under 18 report having one or more asthma attacks in 2018. It shouldn’t have to be this way, although asthma cannot be accurately diagnosed before 5 years old.
- Lung Function: Your doctor will want to see how your child inhales and exhales. They will have their lungs tested before and after an exercise. It looks to see how the lungs function under different conditions.
- Nitric Oxide: If the first tests are inconclusive, they will measure nitric oxide levels through your child’s exhaling breath.
These tests can be done repeatedly over the course of years, so even if your child doesn’t test positive right away it may be good to see that they get tested again.
Doctors are hesitant to treat asthma with medication to young children. Much of the treatment will be education on what can exacerbate the condition and how to manage it while your child is at a young age.
If the asthma is severe, medication will be prescribed for long term use. Most often it will be an inhaler. However, if the asthma is triggered by allergies, they will often suggest allergy injections or over the counter allergy relief.
Your children are always put first, and that is just what we do here at PulseAir Heart and Lung Centre! If you think your child has asthma or another breathing concern, reach out for a consultation today!