In children asthma is diagnosed mainly from the history. The child may complain of difficulty in breathing and cough. These symptoms may get worse after running or playing, early in the morning, at night, during change of season and when exposed to dust or other allergens. Other symptoms like frequent episodes of sneezing and runny nose (allergic rhinitis) and dry itchy skin (eczema) may also be present. A family history of asthma may be another pointer to the diagnosis.
Tests for Diagnosing Asthma:
A delay in diagnosis often leads to these children getting treated with repeated courses of antibiotics and sometimes even with antitubercular drugs.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed the child is started on treatment. The mainstay of treatment is inhalers. Compliance to treatment and technique of taking inhalers has to be reviewed during follow up consultations. Parents need to be counseled about the treatment and its benefits. Overall the quality of life is better with treatment as the child can play and sleep well at night. Infact the response to treatment is one of the important indicators that child has asthma.