If you've struggled with allergies or asthma during your childhood and adult years, you may be worried that this cycle will repeat itself with your young child. Babies born during the winter can be especially susceptible to the various respiratory viruses that make their rounds, and you may have trouble figuring out whether your child's wheezing and shortness of breath is due to a temporary ailment or a more long-term issue like asthma. How can you know what you're dealing with? Read on to learn more about some of the signs and symptoms of asthma in infants and young children, as well as some of the treatment options you may be able to pursue before your child is even able to walk.
What are some signs your infant may have asthma?
Asthma symptoms can sometimes manifest themselves differently in infants than adults (or even children and teens), so it's important to make yourself familiar with the symptoms of infant asthma before you attempt any armchair diagnoses.
Some common signs can include shortness of breath or wheezing, particularly wheezing that utilizes the entire chest. For example, if you can see the outline of your infant's ribs each time he or she takes a deep breath, this may indicate airway restriction caused by asthma. Other signs include tightened neck and chest muscles or significant changes in breathing patterns as your child becomes more restless or relaxed.
Many symptoms of asthma in infants can also mirror other respiratory problems, like bronchiolitis (or inflammation of the airways) or RSV (caused by a virus), so you'll want to have your hunch confirmed by a pediatrician or otolaryngologist before pursuing treatment. In many cases, treating an underlying illness can clear up any asthma symptoms for the foreseeable future.
What are your treatment options if you're concerned about your infant's respiratory symptoms?
If your infant doesn't have any current illnesses but still seems to be having trouble catching his or her breath after crying, feeding, or other oxygen-intensive activities, there are a few treatment options that may bring both temporary and long-term relief.
One option is a nebulizer treatment. This treatment allows your infant to inhale medication that can relax the airways and make it easier to breathe normally, ensuring your infant gets all the oxygen he or she needs. This nebulizer treatment may be repeated until your child is a toddler and is better able to manage asthma symptoms by using a rescue inhaler or other medication. To learn more, contact a company like North Texas Allergy.