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"What asthma symptoms should I look for in my children?"
I have a three year old and I think he might be asthmatic. I am taking him to the doctors. Are there symptoms I should look for before?
Asthma is a very common problem in children. This is particularly the case in children who have allergies or eczema (a scaly condition of the skin), so watch out for these other diseases. Children who have asthma can present with a wide range of severity of symptoms, ranging from mild shortness of breath to severe respiratory distress requiring intensive care hospitalization. By watching out for early symptoms, you can get the appropriate treatment started to prevent the severe, unfavorable outcomes. Early asthma symptoms include rapid and shallow breathing, flaring of the nostrils, wheezing sound from the chest or mouth, frequent cough. Often, these symptoms are triggered by something: dust, pets, perfumes, pollen, or certain medications. If you notice your child's symptoms occur around one of these exposures, do everything you can to remove it from the environment. Asthma can also mimic several other lung diseases that children often get: lung infections (pneumonia or bronchiolitis), foreign body (coin, toy, etc) in the airway, so it is important that your child is evaluated by a primary care physician to rule out these other things, get the appropriate diagnostic tests, and to get started on the right medications. A referral can be made to a pulmonologist if needed.
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