Up to 12 percent of children in America suffer from childhood asthma, according to WebMD. The symptoms, which usually appear around age 5, can be serious or minor, constant or occasional. The number and duration of the signs of asthma in a child are important in determining whether the problem is serious enough to need medication. Parents who suspect asthma in their child should note how many signs are present, what triggers the symptoms and how long they last. This information will be valuable when the child is taken to the doctor, which should be done as soon as asthma is suspected.
Wheezing is a sign that the bronchial tubes, which lead to the lungs, are constricted. As the air struggles to pass through the tubes, a wheezing sound occurs. The sound can occur when the child is breathing in or out.
Frequent coughing is often the only sign of asthma, according to WebMD, so it is important not to dismiss this important symptom. The coughing spells can occur while a child is playing, at night, or they can be triggered by laughter.
A child suffering from asthma may complain that her chest feels “tight” when she breathes, or that it hurts to breathe. She may struggle to take a deep breath, and you may be able to see her chest move up an down as she tries to breathe. Her breathing may be shallow and fast, especially after exercising.
Fatigue is a major sign of asthma in children. Children with asthma tire quickly, especially when engaging in active play. They have trouble sleeping at night and will often present with dark circles under the eyes, or suffer from headaches caused by the lack of sleep. They may also have less of an appetite, and many children with asthma take a long time to recover from respiratory infections or even the flu, according to the MayoClinic.com.
- on the run image by Dumitrescu Ciprian from Fotolia.com