Asthma & Your Child

When your child is diagnosed with asthma the wealth of information, lifestyle change and worry for their health can be overwhelming. Here you'll find information specificaly tailored to help you and your child life a full and active life, symptom free.

Child using a Spacer to take asthma medication

Asthma affects around one out of every five children in Ireland.  Asthma can’t be cured, but it can be well controlled. Children whose asthma is well controlled can lead happy, healthy lives.

Poorly controlled asthma can have a big impact on a child’s health, as well as their ability to play and learn. Uncontrolled asthma causes children to miss school, can lead to hospitalisation, and, although it is rare, in a small number of cases children can die from asthma.

 Our 'Asthma and Your Child' booklet gives parents and guardians the information they need to control their child’s asthma and ensure their asthma won’t stop them leading a happy, healthy and active life. In this booklet you will find information about all aspects of asthma management.  You can download a copy below.


How asthma affects the airways

About Asthma

Asthma is a common chronic disease which inflames the airways. The airways are the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. Asthma causes these airways to become over-sensitive and react to things that wouldn't normally cause a problem,  these are called triggers.
 
You can learn everything you need to know about asthma here , including information on diagnosis, triggers and types of medication.

Boy blowing his nose

What Are the Symptoms of Asthma?

Asthma symptoms vary in children and can depend on the age of the child. Your child may have one or more of the following common symptoms:

  • Wheeze: A wheeze is a whistling sound that happens when you breathe through narrowed airways. Regular wheezing is a symptom of asthma, but not all children with asthma wheeze and not all children who wheeze have asthma. This is why it is important that asthma is diagnosed by a doctor.

  • Coughing: A dry, cough that won’t go away is a symptom of asthma and often occurs at night or during exercise.

  • Chest tightness: Chest tightness is a symptom of asthma. Children may describe it as chest pain or even a tummy ache.

  • Shortness of breath: Shortness of breath is another symptom of asthma and may be triggered by exercise or excitement.

Little girl blowing bubbles

Diagnosing Asthma in Children

There is no single test that can be used alone to diagnose asthma. Your child’s doctor will diagnose asthma based on :  
  • The family history of asthma

  • The pattern of symptoms

  • Physical examination

  • Peak flow/lung function test (depe

  • A trial of asthma treatment

Your child’s doctor may also ask if they have other conditions, such as eczema or hay fever or ask you to keep a diary of their symptoms.
Baby crawling under sheet

Asthma in Children Under 2

Asthma is difficult to diagnose in children under two years old. Wheezing is common  in very young children- more than one third of children under two years will wheeze  at some point. Most of these children stop wheezing as their airways grow, but for  others it could be a sign that they will develop asthma. If your child is under two years  old and their symptoms don’t go away, your doctor may decide to give them a trial of asthma medication to help make a diagnosis.