• Asthma is a chronic lung disease that usually begins in early childhood. While the exact cause of asthma is unknown, there are a number of factors that can lead to its development.


    Asthma is an abnormal, allergic response in the lungs that causes narrowed airways and difficulty breathing. It affects between 6 million and 7 million children.


    Symptoms of asthma vary and can range from a cough, often at night, to wheezing and shortness of breath. Other symptoms are rapid breathing and chest tightness.


    Allergens such as pollen, cockroaches, mold and dust mites are common triggers of asthma attacks. Other triggers include respiratory infections, air pollutants and even exercise.

    Risk Factors

    Children who have the highest risk of developing asthma are those who have food or seasonal allergies and those with a family history of asthma, especially in a parent or sibling.


    The main treatments for asthma include inhaled medications, which are called rescue medications, that are used for immediate relief during an asthma attack. Medications, usually steroids, are also designed to prevent prevent flareups and increase lung function. Avoiding asthma triggers such as common allergens also helps.


    Toddler 411: Ari Brown, MD and Denise Fields: 2006

    American Lung Association

    Childhood Asthma

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