Family Health Guide

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Asthma: Symptoms

The primary symptoms of asthma are regular coughing (especially at night), shortness of breath, wheezing (a whistling sound when your child exhales), and chest tightness. Not all children who have some or even all of these symptoms have or will develop asthma. In fact, as many as half of children have at least one episode of wheezing before age three, yet only 15 to 20 percent of these kids go on to have lifelong asthma.

Indicators that a child may develop asthma are:

  • Allergic rhinitis: sneezing and runny nose triggered by pollen, pets or other allergens.

  • Atopic dermatitis: allergic rashes (usually viral) and dry skin, particularly eczema.

  • Frequent respiratory infections: ask your pediatrician if your child gets infections like bronchitis more often than her peers

  • A family history of asthma and allergies