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ACAAI > Patients & Public > Asthma > Children

Childhood Asthma Symptoms

Most children with childhood asthma have symptoms before age 5. But it’s sometimes hard for parents, and even doctors, to recognize asthma symptoms in very young children. Infants, toddlers and preschoolers have small and narrow airways in their lungs. Head and chest colds and other illnesses can inflame the lung airways, making them even smaller and more irritated. If this happens a lot, your child may have asthma.

The symptoms of pediatric asthma can range from a nagging cough that lingers for days or weeks to sudden and scary breathing emergencies. Common asthma symptoms include:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Wheezing or whistling sound, especially when breathing out
  • Trouble breathing or fast breathing that causes the skin around the ribs or neck to pull in tightly
  • Frequent colds that settle in the chest

Your child might have only one of these symptoms, or most of them. You may think it’s just a cold or bronchitis. But, if the symptoms keep coming back, that’s a clue that your child might have asthma.

The symptoms also might get worse when your child is around "asthma triggers."

Child Asthma Success Stories

Read stories of children just like yours who overcame asthma symptoms by visiting an allergist.

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An allergist is a doctor who has the specialized training and experience to find out what causes your asthma, prevent and treat symptoms, and help keep it under control. Find an allergist in your zip code and find relief.

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