Your child coughs and wheezes a lot, coughing and wheezing are a sign of asthma- now this can put any parent into a bucket of worries. Childhood asthma has become common nowadays, so any symptoms of asthma should not be ignored. But there can be several reasons for coughing and wheezing in kids. Asthma is a lung infection, which is generally hereditary. So, if your family ancestry has no traces of this disease, then you can heave a sigh of relief. Let’s look into more details on this topic.
Asthma in Children: Coughing and Wheezing
When your kid coughs in the middle of the night or is coughing since many days, it can be an alarm of something serious. Coughing is one of the symptoms of asthma and the most noticeable one as well. But, if your kid is very young or less than five years in age, you still have a chance that it is not asthma. Unless the doctors diagnose and confirm it to you. It’s possible that your doctor may inform you that your kid has suspected asthma or your kids symptoms are being treated as asthma since the child is less than five years in age. There are other significant symptoms of asthma as well. Wheezing, breathlessness, more coughing at night, no particular sign of cold or viral fever and coughs that are triggered by running, pollen, mites, or being around pets are some other symptoms that can confirm the occurrence of asthma.
The other reasons of coughing in children are:
Since, the immune system of kids is still improving, so they may not be able to resist cold virus often. So, they may have cold often, sometimes it may go upto eight times in an year. When the child is having cold the mucus may run down the throat, this mucus is cleared by coughing. Most of the time the cough is not serious and may not last more than three weeks.
Due the weak immune system, babies under the age of three are more likely to get respiratory infections like croup as compared to older kids. Croup is a viral infection in the voice box which leads to a distinct barking cough and rough and harsh sound while breathing in. This grating sound is called stridor. A croup attack resembles asthma a lot, so of the child has repeated attacks of croup, ge may end up suffering from asthma. So, your kid may be coughing due to croup infection as well.
Coughing is normal when you kid is suffering from Hay fever. It can cause the mucus to drip from the back of the nose into their throat and this can cause heavy coughing. But, if the hay fever is serious, the child may also start wheezing and this can be a cause of asthma later on.
The virus causing bronchiolitis leads to swelling of the airways in the lung, which can lead to narrowing of the airways. This disease is common in young children and small babies and can lead to coughing and wheezing of the children. If the wheezing continues the child may develop asthma. But, in the initial phase it is not very fatal.
Wheezing i.e. a continuous high-pitched sound coming from the chest is a common symptom of asthma. Since, the airways of the kids is very small, they suffer from wheezing often. So, if they are wheezing it may be due to cold or viral infections. Croup and bronchiolitis which are very common in babies can cause wheezing. Once, the child is six years old, he stops wheezing. But, if they inhale cigarette smoke by any means, it can worsen the situation.
When there can be several other reasons of wheezing, it becomes a sign of asthma when there are several other symptoms such as breathlessness and cough, no sign of cold or viral fever, wheezing is triggered by running, pollens, pets, dust mites or moulds.
Coping up with wheezing and cough
If the situation starts getting serious, it’s better to take the child to his general practitioner. The General practitioner may be able to identify the actual reason causing this problem and prescribe some medicines for the actual problem, that is, antibiotics for infections and antihistamine for hay fever. This will surely help in easing the symptoms. But, if this is of no help or the doctor thinks it could be asthma, than you can proceed with a trial of treatment, that is, asthma preventing medicines or inhaler, just to check if all this helps.
There are parents who are not able to sleep at night as they are worries about their kids. But ,there is a way of coping up with all this. If your kid coughs and wheezes a lot at night, give him the inhaler. This will help him ease and you will notice some significant difference within minutes. After this you can help him sleep. At times, giving them warm honey with some water is also of great help in calming down the cough and wheezing symptoms of your kid (Honey is harmful for kids under the age of one). Peppermint tea can help them cough out the mucus, thus it will provide ease.
What if the situation worsens?
The doctor will prescribe you child a blue inhaler, but if you child needs to use the inhaler three or more times in a week, it is a clear sign that his asthma is worsening. If you notice your child coughing and wheezing endlessly and they also suffer from breathlessness, then you must immediately get medical aid for you kid as this could be a major asthma attack and can lead to fatal conditions.
So these are the possible things that can be inferred about coughing and wheezing in children. Children are prone to infections in childhood, so this may be an infection or viral. But, there are fair chances of asthma in you child. So, do not ignore any symptom and before coming to any conclusion, consultant the doctor. Asthma is a treatable disease but not a curable one. So, if your kid has the disease, it’s your duty to help him cope up with it.