Asthma is a breathing condition where the airways begin to narrow and swell. This produces extra mucus in the chest and this blockage will make breathing extremely difficult. It will cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Some people will experience asthma as only a small disturbance, but for others, it can be a more bothersome problem that interferes with daily activities and can even lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
The exact symptoms of asthma will vary from person to person. These symptoms can be controlled to reduce the effects asthma has on day-to-day activities. Because asthma can change over time, the best way to allow the treatment to maintain its effectiveness is to work with your doctor to keep track of developing signs and symptoms. Asthma symptoms will vary from person to person. It is possible to have infrequent asthma attacks, have symptoms only at certain times, or have symptoms that are persistent all the time. Some of these symptoms include:
• Shortness of breath
• Chest tightness or pain
• A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
• Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing
• Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu.
For some people, asthma signs and symptoms will flare up in certain situations such as:
• Exercise-induced asthma - may worsen in cold or dry air
• Occupational asthma - triggered by workplace irritants such as chemical fumes, gasses, or dust
• Allergy-induced asthma - triggered by airborne substances, such as pollen, mold spores, or pet dander.
If an asthma attack gets severe enough it can become life-threatening, especially for young children. Signs that your child’s asthma is getting worse includes:
• Symptoms of asthma that are bothersome and appear more frequently
• Increasing difficulty while breathing
• The need to use a quick-relief inhaler more often
• Signs of an asthma emergency include:
• Rapid worsening of shortness of breath or wheezing
• No improvement even after using a quick-relief inhaler, such as albuterol
• Shortness of breath when you are doing minimal physical activity
Work with your doctor to create an action plan against your asthma that best addresses your child’s signs and symptoms, what to do when symptoms worsen, and when you might need emergency treatment.
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