Asthma in Children

Childhood Asthma

The majority of children with asthma have allergies. Even exposure to low-grade allergens (such as pet dander, seasonal changes, smoking, etc.) may increase the severity of a child's asthma. In addition, allergies may play a role in undiagnosed asthma cases.

Children with asthma are sensitive to sudden temperature and humidity changes. When going outdoors during cold weather, the air you breathe may not warm or become humid enough as it passes through the warmth and humidity of the nose before it gets to the airways. Thus, the cold air entering the airways may trigger an asthma attack.

Other triggers of childhood asthma may include:

  • Upper respiratory infections (i.e., colds)
  • Inhaled irritants, such as secondhand smoke
  • Certain weather conditions, such as cold air
  • Physical expressions of emotion, such as crying, laughing or yelling

Download our helpful asthma triggers in children / asthma care plan.

Childhood Asthma and Sports

Exercise, such as running, may trigger an asthma attack in the majority of children with asthma. However, with proper management of the child's asthma, a child with asthma can maintain full participation in most sports. Aerobic exercise actually improves airway function by strengthening breathing muscles. Some tips for exercising with asthma include the following:

  • Have your child stretch before and after exercising, breathing through the nose and not the mouth to warm and humidify the air before it enters the airways.
  • Give your child asthma medication before exercising, as recommended by your child's physician.
  • Have your child carry a "reliever" or "reserve" medication (such as a rescue inhaler), just in case of an asthma attack.
  • During cold weather, have your child wear a scarf over the mouth and nose, so that the air breathed in is warm and easier to inhale.

Asthma and School

Some children with asthma may need to take their medications during school hours. It is important that the child, family, physician, and school staff all work together toward meeting the child's asthma treatment goals.

To speak with our Health Program team, please call 414-266-3173.