Asthma is the term used to refer to a chronic illness characterized by inflammation of the airways. Symptoms may include wheezing, or a persistent cough.  The cough is significantly worse at nighttime and with exertion.  Prolong coughing can occur resulting in gagging, choking and/or vomiting.  Some children with asthma require daily maintenance medications to prevent symptoms, while others only require short acting medications during times of illness. Not every episode of wheezing signifies diagnosis of asthma. wheezing episodes continue to occur (usually after more than 3 episodes).

What triggers asthma?

There are many things that may trigger an asthma attack.

Learning what triggers your child and avoiding these things can help to prevent asthma attacks.  The most common asthma triggers are:

  1. Illness
  2. Seasonal allergies
  3. Cigarette smoke/environmental pollutants
  4. Dust mites
  5. Animals
  6. Exercise
  7. Mold

What is the treatment for asthma?

Mild asthma can often be treated with Albuterol in an inhaler or a nebulizer on an as-needed basis.  Albuterol is a bronchodilator, which means that it works by opening up the airways helping to alleviate symptoms.

Sometimes maintenance medications are used to help prevent exacerbations.  It can be either inhaled corticosteroids or Singular. They do not work quickly and cannot be used on an as needed basis.  It takes daily use to benefit from these medications.

Many parents worry about giving their child a steroid on a regular basis.  It is important to know that these steroids work only on the lung tissue and do not have the systemic side effects seen with daily use of oral steroids.  In addition, antihistamines are often used to help prevent asthma exacerbations triggered by allergies.