What are the symptoms of asthma?

Children who have asthma usually have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing, particularly at night and after exercise
  • A whistling noise in their chest - this is wheezing
  • Breathlessness, or having to stop to catch their breath frequently

If your child has one or more of these symptoms you should take them to see your GP. However, it is actually difficult in very young children to tell whether they have asthma. One of the tests used to tell whether an adult's lungs are working properly - the peak flow meter - does not work well in children under the age of six. If your child's symptoms are mild, your doctor may ask you to keep a diary of what symptoms he has and when they happen to help decide if it is asthma. If the symptoms affect what your child is able to do your doctor may start them on a course of treatment for a trial period and see if this helps relieve the symptoms.

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