Does My Child Have Asthma?
A pediatrician helps you find the answer
Does your child cough frequently at night even when they don’t have a cold?
Does your child have to limit playing or sports because they are short of breath?
Does your child also have runny nose and watery eyes on a regular basis?
Does your child also have eczema or super dry skin?
Then they may have asthma.
Asthma is the leading cause of emergency room visits and missed school days. It is repeated episodes of wheezing and cough even without illness. During the winter months as kids seem to come home with a new set of cold like symptoms every week, many parents wonder if their children have asthma. So first things first.
Having a cold due to a viral infection, including RSV and Influenza, does not predispose them to developing asthma. However, if you have asthma that is poorly treated or unrecognized, those viral infections will always seem to be worse. They may be more symptomatic with cough and shortness of breath. They may awaken at night more frequently than other children.
The difficulty is sorting out children, especially six and younger, who have repeated viral infections versus asthma that is exacerbated by an illness. If your child has watery eyes or runny nose, eczema, nightly cough and repeated episodes of wheezing even when not appearing to have an illness then they may have asthma.
While no one wants their child to have any illness, the good news is that there are medications available to insure that children with asthma have no limitations in their activities, sleep soundly at night and rarely have to go to the emergency room. I tell my patients with asthma that whatever they choose to do: play soccer, run track, etc. that by working together we can usually develop a strategy that will not limit their potential to succeed. For some it is recognizing symptoms of asthma and beginning treatment quickly. For others it is a daily preventive medication to lessen symptoms.
More than anything, if you are worried, ask your pediatrician. We are experts in treating asthma and want to help. Asthma is one of the most common diseases referred to a pulmonologist by a primary care doctor. For more advanced care for kids with asthma, your pediatrician can also help refer you to a Cook Children's pulmonologist.
For more information on Asthma:
Get to know Kathleen Powderly, M.D.
Kathleen Powderly, M.D., has been a pediatrician with Cook Children’s for 15 years. She is currently a pediatrician at Cook Children's Magnolia Office and a hospitalist at Cook Children’s Medical Center. She served as co-medical director of inpatient pediatrics for the last five years. She feels privileged to have cared for children and families in the Fort Worth community for her entire career. Listening to parents and collaborating with them in the development and health of their children is essential to her practice. Her specific interests include asthma and allergies, newborn care, medically complex issues, and emotional issues/behavior.
Outside of work, Dr. Powderly is married and the mother of a busy teenage boy. To make an appointment with Dr. Powderly, click here or call 817-985-3147.