Pediatric Asthma

Pediatric Asthma


Pediatric asthma is a pervasive serious chronic illness, whichaffects children as well as infants. It is a heterogeneous disorderexemplified by persistent obstruction and irritation of the airway inaddition to bronchial hyper-responsiveness. The disease presents withdiffering phenotypes that depend on age, sexual category and genetichistory. Pediatric asthma affects close to 8.5% of American children(Herzog &amp Cunningham-Rundles, 2011). It is the major cause ofhospitalization and school non-attendance in children.

Risk factors

Numerous risk factors expose children and infants to the developmentof pediatric asthma. They include the availability of allergies in achild’s environment (WebMD, 2015). Allergies can be presentin the food or child’s surrounding, which exposes them to theillness. Since children’s immune system is not as strong as that ofadults, they are more likely to develop asthma when exposed toallergies. Other factors are a family past of asthma or allergies inthe family, respiratory infections that are recurrent, children thatare born with a low birth weight, and exposing children to tobaccosmoke prior to and following birth (WebMD, 2015).

It is also important to note that boys are at a higher risk ofdeveloping pediatric asthma when compared to girls. In addition,children from low-income families have a higher risk when compared tochildren from high-income environments. Research demonstrates thatasthma is more widespread in male children during the early years oftheir life (Herzog &amp Cunningham-Rundles, 2011). Girls are morelikely to develop asthma during adolescence. The illness has adisproportionate impact on minorities and low-income families. In theUS, Latino and African American children from low-income environmentsexperience greater asthma death and morbidity compared to whitechildren from high-income environments (Herzog &ampCunningham-Rundles, 2011).

Signs and symptoms

It is difficult to tell if a child or infant has asthma. This isbecause unlike adults, young ones are incapable of telling how theyfeel and when they feel unwell. Hence, parents, guardians andcaregivers must be alert to detect the signs and symptoms. Manychildren that have asthma show the signs before the age of five. Ininfants, it might be difficult for caregivers or even doctors todetect that the symptoms are because of asthma. Infants and childrenhave constricted and small bronchial tubes, which are easily inflamedby chest and head colds, as well as different diseases (Covar, 2012).

The symptoms differ from a nagging cough, lasting for days or weeksand progresses to unexpected scary breathing. In most instances,there are warning signs to indicate an oncoming asthma attack. Theearly signs include changes in breathing, headache, fatigue,moodiness, stuffy nose, inability to sleep well and throat itchiness(Covar, 2012). During an asthmatic episode, a clinician needs todetermine if the child or infant depicts asthmatic symptoms. Theseare wheezing. It refers to an acute sound, produced due to airflowturbulence. The wheezing happens when breathing out (Sharma, 2015).Another symptom is coughing. The cough is nonproductive as well asnonparoxysmal and may occur when wheezing. Coughing could be the onlyindicator of asthma specifically in instances of asthma that isnocturnal or happens after exercise (Sharma, 2015). Other symptomsare shortness of breath and tightness of the chest.

During an acute asthmatic episode, the symptoms differ depending onthe severity of the episode. When infants and children have an acuteepisode they depict loss of breathe when resting, they havedifficulty feeding, are unable to talk in a sentence and instead usewords, and are normally restless (Sharma, 2015). Physical examinationduring an acute episode involves a respiratory rate of more thanthirty breaths in a minute the heart rate is more than a hundred andtwenty beats in a minute and suprasternal withdrawals are current(Sharma, 2015).


A past of recurrent wheezing episodes acts as the beginning pointfor diagnosing pediatric asthma. There is no specifically requiredfigure of wheezing episodes, though there is a suggested arbitraryrate of three or more (Papadopoulos et al, 2012). Symptom patternsare significant during the establishment of a diagnosis. They includepersistent episodes of coughing, wheezing, tightness of the chest andbreathing difficulty, triggered because of exposure to severalstimuli like allergens, smoke, exercise and infections to therespiratory system (Papadopoulos et al, 2012). A family history ofthe illness strengthens diagnosis. Considering that the symptoms ofpediatric asthma might happen because of various diverse situationsand are un-pathognomonic, differential diagnosis is significant.

Tests used to diagnose pediatric asthma consist of the pulmonaryfunction examinations. The exercise challenge – entails baselinespirometry and exercise to measure the heart beat. Radiography – itis an important test in revealing hyperinflation as well as enhancedbronchial markings. The test might also depict proof of parenchymalillness. Allergy testing – the test is used in diagnosis todetermine the possibility of allergic factors, which support thedevelopment of asthma. Histologic airways analysis – the testreveals inflammatory cells infiltration, any airway lumina that havenarrowed and presence of mucus plugs (Sharma, 2015).


Among infants that wheeze, sixty percent become asymptomatic at agesix. Nevertheless, children with asthmatic symptoms even after theage of six, develop airway reactivity in later stages of childhood(Sharma, 2015). In children with mild asthma and are asymptomaticamid attacks, their health is probable to improve and the symptomsfade away as they grow. Generally, children that have pediatricasthma experience lesser symptoms as they become older. This isespecially the case for boys. However, half of the children progressto have asthmatic episodes. The illness has an inclination to abateduring adolescence, and girls have an earlier remission (Sharma,2015).

Managing pediatric asthma

The “National Asthma Education and Prevention Program” insistsof specific asthma care factors. Evaluation and monitoring – toevaluate asthma control as well as regulate therapy, it is necessaryto assess risk and harm. This is because asthma differs with time andtwo to six weeks follow up is crucial in being able to regulate theillness (Sharma, 2015). Education – education focuses on informingparents or caregivers on the significance and approaches to detectasthmatic symptoms (Sharma, 2015). Early diagnosis of symptomsenhances the ability to control an asthmatic episode. Education alsoconcentrates on informing environmental factors, which enhance thedevelopment of asthma. Hence, education of environmental control toreduce the risk factors of pediatric asthma.

Pharmacologic treatment is a different way of managing the illness.It involves using control and relief agents. The control agentscomprise of “Inhaled corticosteroids, inhaled cromolyn ornedocromil, long-acting bronchodilators, theophylline, leukotrienemodifiers and anti-immunoglobulin E antibodies” (Sharma, 2015).Relief medications comprise of “short-acting bronchodilators,systemic corticosteroids and ipratropium” (Sharma, 2015).


Covar, D. (2012). Pediatric asthma: Symptoms. National JewishHealth. Retrieved from

Herzog, R &amp Cunningham-Rundles, S. (2011). Pediatric asthma:Natural history, assessment and treatment. Mount Sinai Journal ofMedicine, 78(5), 645-660.

Papadopoulos, N. G., Arakawa, H., Carlsen, K. H., Custovic, A., Gern,J… (2012). International consensus on pediatric asthma. Allergy,67, 976-997.

Sharma, G. D. (2015). Pediatric asthma. Medscape. Retrievedfrom

WebMD. (2015). Asthma in children: Symptoms and risk factors.Retrieved from