Frequent cold and wheezing can indicates that your infant may be suffering from asthma. For that reason, it is always safe to check with your pediatrician and get your baby properly diagnosed. Asthma is a medical condition that causes airways and lungs to become aggravated and inflamed, thus making it difficult to breathe. It is difficult to determine if your baby has asthma until 5 years of age, as most other conditions in babies reveal similar symptoms. A baby’s airways is usually small and a respiratory tract infection can cause the openings to swell and get congested with mucus leading to cough, wheezing and other related symptoms of asthma. A recurring wheeze is one of the initial signs of asthma. However, the presence of a cough alone does not specify that your baby is suffering from asthma. If you suspect that your baby is suffering from asthma, make sure to get it diagnosed as early as possible. Hence, early diagnosis and treatment is essential. Read on to know more on asthma in babies.
It is difficult for a doctor to diagnose your baby with asthma before he/she is 12 months of age. Wheezing may not always indicate asthma as several other conditions can instigate this condition. Problems like bronchiolitis, respiratory viruses, cystic fibrosis, heart problems and milk aspiration can leave your baby gasping. Often, it is seen that babies with wheezing problem outgrow it when they grow old. It’s important to understand that just one instance of wheezing cannot lead to asthma. Only if your child shows repeated signs of wheezing, you should take him to a pediatrician. Detailed observation and tests are required to confirm any signs of asthma in your baby. Doctors avoid making any early diagnosis as it might cause unnecessary anxiety to the parents and family. However, if the problem goes undiagnosed in your baby, it might lead to severe complications of lungs over time.
There are many things that might cause wheezing in infants. Any piece of food or alien object inhaled into the lungs might cause wheezing. Also, premature infants with underdeveloped airways may show signs of wheezing. Apart from these signs, any kind of physical exertion, too much crying or laughing, changes in weather, exposure to tobacco or cigarette, and allergens like pets, pollen and dust can trigger asthmatic attacks.
Asthma is generally the outcome of complex relationship between a baby’s genes and his environment. The common symptoms of asthma include coughing, wheezing, tightening of chest, rapid breathing, fever, short of breath after any physical activity. The intensity of these symptoms may usually vary from child to child.
Consulting the Doctor
If your child shows repeated wheezing or suffers from bouts of coughing especially in the night, you need to consult the doctor. Also check out for any kind of breathing problem in your child after any physical activity. Check if your child suffers from respiratory uneasiness in certain conditions like cold, or cold air allergens, or even pets or dust and smoke etc. Also, don’t forget to tell your doctor if you have a family medical history of allergies, asthma and sinus problems.
Although it is difficult to say if your baby suffers from asthma before the first five years of his/her life, his/her wheezing can definitely be checked with proper medications. The doctor might even recommend asthma medications to see if the condition improves. As these medicines are meant for infants and babies, they usually outrun risk of any probable side effects. Most often, the doctor decides the medicines and its frequency based on severity of breathing problems and the symptoms. Asthma medicines are often delivered using an inhaler with a spacer or through a nebulizer. It is important to teach everyone in the house how to use the inhaler and nebulizer, so that they can attend to the baby when in distress.
Some common misconceptions regarding asthma are: