Wheezing and asthma in young children

Oct 07, 2008

The diagnosis of asthma in a young child may well be more challenging to pediatricians than previously appreciated, according to a review of research and clinical experience literature by Howard Eigen, M.D., of the Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children appearing in the October 2008 issue of Clinical Pediatrics.

"Wheezing can be serious," said Dr. Eigen, the Billie Lou Wood Professor of Pediatrics at the IU School of Medicine and director of pediatric pulmonology and critical care at Riley Hospital. "A comprehensive review of clinical practice and peer reviewed studies show that the difficulty of accurate diagnosis is often underestimated by pediatricians who may link it to a passing cold or other non-serious condition rather than relating it to asthma, a chronic and potentially serious disease."

Dr. Eigen noted in his study that in early childhood asthma is often under recognized and under diagnosed because the symptoms can vary widely and are similar to other common childhood illnesses, including a non-specific cough, flu and bronchitis. Establishing a diagnosis of asthma in young wheezing children also can be challenging for the physician because the type, severity and frequency of asthma symptoms vary widely among children and, sometimes even with an individual child.

The Clinical Pediatrics paper reported that symptoms consistence with asthma in young children include:

-- Recurrent wheeze associated with such triggers as viral infection or exercise
-- Cough
-- Chronic bronchitis
-- Recurrent Pneumonia
-- Increased bronchial hyper-reactivity, such as cough or wheeze with mild exercise

"These symptoms can also be symptoms of conditions other than asthma so it is important for parents and pediatricians to assess the frequency and patterns of the symptoms, for example if they are seasonal or perennial, if they are episodic versus continuous, or if there is a day versus night variation," said Dr. Eigen.

Asthma is the most common long-term disease of children and its incidence is growing worldwide.

Source: Indiana University

Explore further: Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

As air pollution from fracking rises, EPA to set rules

Apr 17, 2012

The rush to capture natural gas from hydraulic fracturing has led to giant compressor stations alongside backyard swing sets, drilling rigs in sight of front porches, and huge flares at gas wells alongside country roads.

Recommended for you

Ebola reveals shortcomings of African solidarity

4 hours ago

As Africa's leaders meet in Ethiopia to discuss the Ebola crisis, expectations of firm action will be tempered by criticism over the continent's poor record in the early stages of the epidemic.

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

20 hours ago

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

Jan 30, 2015

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

Jan 30, 2015

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.