Asthma is considered as a common condition but how can you tell if a baby has infant asthma? Millions of children with asthma develop the symptoms before they reach 6 years old and start wheezing before 1 year old. It is vital to diagnose infant asthma properly because if not treated, the inflammation can cause permanent damage to the lungs.
Understandably, diagnosing infant asthma is hard since the symptoms can be subtle where most do not suspect the condition at all. Since the infant cannot describe how he/she feels, the doctor will rely on the description of the symptoms as well as how the baby acts. In addition, the doctor will check the family history for allergies or asthma in determining if the baby has infant asthma.
Indications of infant asthma
Similar with adults, the symptoms of infant asthma can vary from child to child. When it comes to infant asthma, the baby might have all the distinctive adult asthma symptoms or only one of the symptoms. In addition, sweating, poor feeding or appearing uncomfortable can indicate infant asthma.
The common symptoms of adult asthma include the following:
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
Diagnosing infant asthma
In most cases, the doctor will ask about the following when considering a diagnosis of infant asthma.
- If the child experiences wheezing more than once. Many infants will suffer from wheezing after an upper respiratory tract infection. On the other hand, if the infant experiences this frequently, it increases the chances that the child has infant asthma.
- Child coughs at night time. Take note that nighttime cough is one of the symptoms used to monitor asthma control as well as make the doctor suspicious of infant asthma.
- Child wheezes after exposure to allergens. If wheezing occurs after being exposed to allergens, the child could have infant asthma. The common allergens include dust mites, animal dander, mold and cockroaches.
- Child wheezes upon exposure to tobacco smoke. Remember that smoke is a lung irritant that can trigger asthma symptoms.
- Laughing or crying causes wheezing
- Child breathes rapidly where he/she has difficulty in finishing a bottle.
Treatment for infant asthma
Infant asthma can be managed with the same medications as adult asthma. The doctor might opt to start treatment if uncertain whether the child has a diagnosis of infant asthma or can monitor the symptoms for a certain period of time.
Even though you might be worried about the side effects of treatment, the asthma medications are well-tolerated generally.
When to consult a doctor
It is important that you know when to consult a doctor if a child has infant asthma. If you suspect wheezing and the child has not wheezed before, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the cause.
If the following symptoms are present, you have to bring the child to a healthcare provider for emergency care.
- Wheezing that occurs while breathing in and out
- Rapid breathing
- Continuous coughing
- Retractions where the skin is pulled into the chest during inhalation
- Shortness of breath
- Bluish lips or fingernails
Remember that just because the infant wheezes do not necessarily mean that he/she has asthma. Nevertheless, it is vital to be sure that the child is properly evaluated to ensure that he/she does not have infant asthma.