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Asthma in Children

Also called: Childhood asthma 
 
 

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen.

In the United States, about 20 million people have asthma. Nearly 9 million of them are children. Children have smaller airways than adults, which makes asthma especially serious for them. Children with asthma may experience wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and trouble breathing, especially early in the morning or at night.

Many things can cause asthma, including

  • Allergens - mold, pollen, animals
  • Irritants - cigarette smoke, air pollution
  • Weather - cold air, changes in weather
  • Exercise
  • Infections - flu, common cold

When asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it is called an asthma attack. Asthma is treated with two kinds of medicines: quick-relief medicines to stop asthma symptoms and long-term control medicines to prevent symptoms.

 

 

 
 
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Photograph of a young boy using an inhaler

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MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. See our disclaimer about external links and our quality guidelines.