Babies are susceptible to respiratory infections and may commonly be seen coughing or wheezing. However, mostly these symptoms are related to colds, or infections of the upper respiratory tract. However, coughing or wheezing may also indicate asthma.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a respiratory condition in which the tubes that transfer air in and out of the lungs become sensitive and inflamed. Upon contact with a trigger, the muscles around the walls of these tubes tighten further, making it difficult for the person to breathe. Since these airways are small in babies, even a small degree of inflammation or contraction is sufficient to give rise to symptoms of asthma.
You should consult the pediatrician if your baby:
- Wheezes on more than one occasion.
- Has continuous bouts of coughing that get aggravated at night.
- Displays an unusual form of breathing.
- Suffers breathing problems in response to a cold, or allergens such as dust or smoke.
Here are some facts related to asthma in babies:
- An isolated episode of wheezing is no reason to suspect asthma. If wheezing is recurrent, the pediatrician may prescribe tests to check for asthma.
- Most kids who wheeze as infants outgrow it and do not have asthma when they get older. Less than a third of babies who regularly wheeze during the first three years of their lives, continue to do so as they grow older.
- Asthma if uncontrolled can, over time, seriously damage babies’ lungs. To avoid this, the pediatrician may prescribe asthma medications to babies who have symptoms of asthma, even if the diagnosis is not confirmed.