Asthma Signs

Asthma Signs
Q:
Asthma Signs

Is it possible for a child to have asthma without wheezing? My 4-year-old coughs a lot during exercise. He does have nasal allergies and his dad has asthma.

A:

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

Most people don’t realize it but some kids with asthma cough instead of wheezing (called cough-variant asthma). Those that cough during exercise should be checked for asthma, especially if there is asthma in the family.

There are a variety of different ways to check for asthma. Asthma is defined as repeated airway narrowing. When the airways are narrow, this can be measured by having the child breathe into a tube called a peak flow meter or by having the child breath into a larger machine, called a spirometer. If there is no narrowing at the time, they might have the child exercise to try to reproduce it. There are higher-tech tests available if there is still a question.

Children can continue any sport or exercise activity even when diagnosed with asthma, so long as they are properly treated. Exercise is great for kids with asthma, and if the asthma is properly treated, it will usually not interfere at all with performance. In fact, many Olympians have asthma.

Reviewed by: Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin, Liat Simkhay Snyder
Last reviewed: May 01, 2010
Dr. Alan Greene

Article written by

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

 

Comments

  • MonkeyPoopSoup

    Is it possible to have asthma symptoms only when very upset instead of exercise-induced asthma? I ask because our 7 year-old son seems to sort of hyperventilate when he cries hard for too long and it leads to him being air-starved, like he cannot get enough air on inhale. He looks as if he cannot breath properly and it’s a bit scary for him and us. If he calms down he’ll have the staggered inhale still but he slowly returns to normal breathing. It only happens when he gets upset though. Could that be a sign of asthma?