Spotting asthma in little ones

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– Cold and flu season is just around the corner.

Doctors say if your child has a cold that lasts longer than usual, it may be time to head to the clinic.

2-and-a-half-year-old Theodore Hillman counts to 10 every night before bed as he uses his inhaler.

His mom, Tanya, says his asthma symptoms appeared just five months after he was born.

“We had to take him in because he had a cough, chronic cough. They said he had bronchitis,” Hillman said.

Over the next six months she says Theodore was in and out of doctors’ offices with a consistent cough, which lead to a referral to see Dr. Amit Jain, a Sanford Health pediatric pulmonologist.

“In a younger age group they go to daycare, they’re going to be exposed to a lot of viral illnesses. In asthma we do see, whenever they catch a cold they will have a prolonged cough and wheezing, which can last for more than a week,” Jain said.

He says children may also develop eczema, or red and itchy patches on the skin. If symptoms like a dry cough, wheezing and shortness of breath don’t clear up in about a week, he suggests visiting with your child’s primary physician.

“Other things to notice is when they’re running and playing like which they do all the time, toddlers and all, they’re going to be short of breath, trying to catch their breath,” Jain said.

He says children with a family history of asthma are at an increased risk, but allergies and the common cold can also play a role. With no family history of asthma Tanya says Theodore’s diagnosis surprised her, but she also says it was a relief to finally know why her son had constant colds.

“At the same time it’s a little hard too because its, can’t really do anything for it. You just have to treat the symptoms and take it as it comes,” Tanya said.

Dr. Jain says 60 to 70 percent of children are able to out grow their asthma by age 6 or 7– depending on their risk factors. With no family history Tanya is hopeful Theodore will be one of them.

“Fingers crossed that it’s something he’ll grow out of once he’s a little bit older,” Tanya said.

For now, she urges other parents to keep a close eye on asthma symptoms and follow up with their doctor.

Jain adds that a child is never ‘too young’ to develop asthma, and recommends checking in with your doctor if you’re unsure.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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