If your child frequently experiences shortness of breath, coughing, or hears a whistling or wheezy sound in their chest when they breathe, they may have asthma — a chronic condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes, the passageways that allow air to enter and leave the lungs. If people with asthma are exposed to a substance to which they are sensitive or a situation that changes their regular breathing patterns, the symptoms can become more severe.
Asthma symptoms affect an estimated 7 million children — and are one of the leading causes of absences from school. According to the World Health Organization, asthma often runs in families; about half the cases are due to genetic susceptibility, and half result from environmental factors. Although there is no cure for asthma, effective treatments are available. Asthma can be best managed by seeing an allergist.