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Know the Asthma Symptoms in Children

Asthma affects as many as 10% to 12% of children in the United States and is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. For unknown reasons, the incidence of asthma in children is steadily increasing. While asthma symptoms can begin at any age, most children have their first asthma symptoms by age 5.

Not all children with asthma wheeze. Chronic coughing with asthma may be the only obvious sign, and a child’s asthma may go unrecognized if the cough is attributed to recurrent bronchitis.

For more detail, see WebMD’s Asthma in Children

Know About Unusual Asthma Symptoms

Not everyone with asthma has the usual symptoms of cough, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Sometimes individuals have unusual asthma symptoms that may not appear to be related to asthma. Some "unusual" asthma symptoms may include the following:

  • rapid breathing
  • sighing
  • fatigue
  • inability to exercise properly (called exercise-induced asthma)
  • difficulty sleeping or nighttime asthma
  • anxiety
  • difficulty concentrating
  • chronic cough without wheezing

Also, asthma symptoms can be mimicked by other conditions such as bronchitis, vocal cord dysfunction, and even heart failure.

It's important to understand your body. Talk with your asthma doctor and others with asthma. Be aware that asthma may not always have the same symptoms in every person.

For more detail, see WebMD’s article Unusual Asthma Symptoms.

Know Why Infections Trigger Asthma Symptoms

Sometimes a virus or bacterial infection is an asthma trigger. For instance, you might have a cold virus that triggers your asthma symptoms. Or your asthma can be triggered by a bacterial sinus infection. Sinusitis with asthma is common.

It’s important to know the signs and symptoms of respiratory tract infections and to call your health care provider immediately for diagnosis and treatment. For instance, you might have symptoms of increased shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or wheezing with a bronchial infection. In people who don’t have asthma, the bronchial infection may not trigger the same debilitating symptoms. Know your body and understand warning signs that an infection might be starting. Then take the proper medications as prescribed to eliminate the infection and regain control of your asthma and health.

For more detail, see WebMD’s article Infections and Asthma.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on May 18, 2014
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