Learn the Signs that Your Child Might be Suffering from Asthma

Asthma is a chronic condition in which allergens cause the bronchial airways to become swollen. The muscles surrounding them will then constrict, making it harder to breathe. For unknown reasons childhood asthma has become far more common in the last couple of decades. In fact, experts predict that the total number of children suffering from the condition increased by 75 per cent between 1980 and 1994.

With 1 in 10 Australians estimated to have asthma, it's clearly important to be able to spot it in your child, but this can be tricky. Here are just a few things to watch out for.

Wheezing Sound

When asthma attacks occur, you could find that your child makes an odd wheezing noise as they breathe, somewhat like a high-pitched whistle. This most commonly occurs during exhalation. If the sound is low-pitched and more like a grunt, they might just have a cold or a blocked nose.

Unexplained Coughing

In many cases, coughing will be the only sign that your child has asthma. Coughs will be unexplained, occurring without any other symptoms of a cold, and they will be non-productive, meaning that no phlegm will be coughed up during the act.  

Rapid Breathing

All humans breathe faster when they have been exerting themselves, but this is generally more pronounced in children who have asthma. It may also occur when no physical activity has been endured, particularly if allergens, such as dust, pollen and cigarette smoke, are present, and rapid breathing may be accompanied by complaints of tightness in the neck and chest.

Lack of Energy

Since asthma makes it harder for your child to breathe, they may seem less interested in physical activity to begin with, complaining of a lack of energy in order to excuse themselves. This is usually because they are not breathing freely and so lack the energy to look forward to more demanding exercise.

Risk Factors

Finally, consider the risk factors associated with asthma. Until age 14, the condition is more common in males, but from 15 years onwards it becomes more common in females. Rates are also close to twice as high among Indigenous Australians, and people living in inner regional areas are more likely to develop the condition than those in major cities, outer regional areas, and remote areas.

If you think your child may have asthma, the best thing to do is seek medical services and visit your GP. They will be able to perform some tests to see if any treatment is required.