Pediatric Pulmonology Care
Renown's Pediatric Pulmonology team provides exceptional, family-centered care for children's lung conditions to improve their well-being and life quality.
November 01, 2023
Dr. Shipra Singh, a Pediatric Pulmonologist, outlines the challenges of diagnosing asthma in children due to symptoms resembling other respiratory issues. It's particularly difficult to identify in infants and young children, who may not clearly exhibit breathing difficulties.
Asthma, often confused with bronchitis, croup, or allergies, is a significant chronic illness causing school absenteeism, as per the CDC. Risk factors include prenatal smoking and family history of allergies or asthma. Infants and toddlers are more susceptible due to smaller airways and respiratory viruses, which can exacerbate conditions like colds and bronchitis.
With your help, your child’s doctor can make the best diagnosis to determine if your child has asthma. A pediatric pulmonologist (lung specialist) or pediatric allergist may also have to be consulted for special testing. Tests may include lung function testing, allergy tests, blood tests and X-rays for an accurate diagnosis.
Young children can use many of the same medications as older children and adults, although the way they take them and the dosage will differ. A nebulizer (or breathing machine) creating a medicated mist for your child to breathe through a mask may be used. An inhaler with a small spacer tube connected to a mask is also common to help your child breath medication into their lungs. Either of these options are effective.
Asthma in children is treated with both fast-acting and long-term medicines to open up airways quickly for easy breathing and also to lessen asthma symptoms over time. Communicate with your child’s medical providers to create a personalized asthma management plan for them.
Dr. Singh explains, "Discussing asthma with your child may be difficult. Some kids find the subject frightening or confusing. Others, especially the older kids, may resent the treatment and may not be interested in doing it. Talk to your doctor about advice to build an open and trusting relationship regarding your child's asthma care."
Asthma symptoms change day to day and year to year. An older child can better recognize and manage their symptoms, so asthma episodes may lessen. However asthma is a life-long condition of the airways, so it is important to always have an asthma action plan, even with occasional asthma events.