Close Close
Mother and Baby

Baby Health A-Z: Asthma

Baby Health A-Z: Asthma

Around 5.4 million people in the UK are being treated for asthma. If your baby has asthma, here's everything you need to know. 

What is asthma?

Asthma is caused by inflammation of the small tubes (bronchi) that carry air in and out of the lungs. People with asthma have inflamed and sensitive bronchi easily irritated by triggers such as viral infections, exercise, pollen, house dust mites, animal fur and cigarette smoke. When a sufferer comes into contact with their trigger their airway narrows further, muscles around it tightens and they produce sticky phlegm all making it hard to breath. Some children grow out of asthma, others learn to manage their condition and lead a normal life.

What are the symptoms?

A whistling sound when baby breathes, cough and shortness of breath. Occasionally symptoms get gradually or suddenly worse. This is known as an ‘asthma attack’. Asthma is notoriously difficult to diagnose in children under two because nearly a third wheeze at some point anyway because their airways are immature. It stops as they grow. Your child is more likely to be diagnosed if symptoms keep occurring even if they don’t have a cold; are worse at night or first thing in the morning; occur when they’re around known asthma triggers or there’s a family history. A GP will want to know if they were born prematurely or if they had breathing problems as a tiny baby to help them build a bigger picture.

What can you do?

A ‘reliever’ drug that relaxes muscles allowing the airway to open wider is likely to be prescribed. This is given via the traditional blue asthma inhaler or ‘puffer’ you may be familiar with but, for young children, the inhaler is attached to a device called a spacer making it easier to use. The spacer has a mouthpiece (or a face-mask if they’re very young) at one end and that delivers the medicine to their lungs. Sometimes a machine called a nebuliser is used to deliver a fine mist of the medicine. You’ll need to keep a diary of how your child responds because if the wheezing becomes more regular or you need to use the reliever more often they may also need ‘preventer’ medication, administered the same way via a brown inhaler, too. You should refrain from smoking around your child, keep their room well-ventilated, use anti-allergy bedding, wash bedding and toys at 60 degrees and vacuum and dust regularly.

When to see your GP

You will need to stay in regular contact with your baby’s GP or asthma nurse who will want to monitor their condition.

If your child suddenly has trouble breathing, their wheezing and coughing becomes severe and constant, their heartbeat is rapid, they’re drowsy, exhausted or dizzy or their lips or fingers are turning blue do not hesitate to dial 999 because they may be having a severe asthma attack. 

 
Related content:

Comments

No comments have been made yet.


Win an award-winning aden + anais swaddle pack
Win an award-winning aden + anais swaddle pack

Click here for your chance to win an award-winning aden + anais swaddle pack

Pampers Baby-Dry
Win a 1 month supply of Pampers Baby-Dry nappies

Enter now for your chance to win a 1 month supply of Pampers Baby-Dry nappies PLUS £100 John Lewis voucher.

Lemonade Money
It’s time to make sure your loved ones are protected

Every parent knows the importance of planning ahead; from the new school shoes, to your little one’s education, you want to fill their future with hopes and dreams. Yet are you one of the 80% of adults here in the UK that has no life cover?

Win an NCT antenatal course
Win an NCT antenatal course

Click here for your chance to win an antenatal course with NCT and make sure you're baby ready.

How to deal with nappy rash with Superdrug's My Little Star range
How to deal with nappy rash with Superdrug's My Little Star range

Nappy rash is painful for parents as well as for your baby. Read Dr Pixie's guide to learn how to deal with nappy rash…

Celebrating parenting's small wins
Celebrating parenting's small wins

As mums, we're constantly told to enjoy every moment; in reality, parenting can sometimes be challenging. That's where small wins come in...

Mother and Baby April
Subscribe to Mother&Baby

Be the best mum you can be and let Mother & Baby guide you along the way. Each issue is jam packed with REAL advice from mums just like you. Subscribe today & get a free welcome gift!

Ovulation Calculator
Ovulation calculator
Trying for a baby? Work out when you're most fertile to increase your chances of getting pregnant with our easy-to-use ovulation calculator.
Pregnant woman
Due Date Calculator

When is your baby due? If you’re having trouble remembering dates and counting up the days on your fingers and toes, don’t worry – use our due date calculator.

Get M&B in your inbox!

Sign up to Mother&Baby today and get news and advice about your body and your baby straight to your inbox every week.