World Asthma Day: Can A One Year Old Be Diagnosed With Asthma?

World Asthma Day: Can A One Year Old Be Diagnosed With Asthma?

2 May 2022 | 5 min Read

Reema Shah

Author | 500 Articles

If your infant is wheezing and you have a doubt whether it is asthma, consider other possible aspects too. It is difficult to diagnose asthma in an infant or toddler as young children and infants tend to have more respiratory infections, therefore it is important to observe the child closely for confirmation. 

In light of World Asthma Day which is celebrated on 3 May every year, here’s all that you need to know about infant asthma.

What Is Asthma?

It is a condition where the airways narrow down and swell, which can lead to the production of extra mucus. The condition can cause a wheezing sound when breathing out, trigger coughing and also lead to shortness of breath.

How Is Asthma In Infants And Toddlers Different From Adults?

Compared to adults and older children, infants and toddlers have much smaller airways. Hence, even minor blockages caused as a result of tight airways, viral infections or the production of mucus, can make it difficult for the child to breathe.

At What Age Can a Child be Diagnosed with Asthma?

Mostly, the signs of asthma are seen in children before they turn 5 years if they have it. 

Acute asthma instances happen to infants 6 months old or younger, mostly because of viruses.

Signs of Asthma in a Baby or Toddler

The signs of asthma in a baby include:

  • The breathing is fast
  • The infant finds difficulty in sucking or eating
  • The child is working harder to breathe 
  • A whistling sound called wheezing is heard
  • The coughing is persistent
  • The child is constantly tired
  • In some cases, the colour changes on mucus membranes such as lips, and tongue around the eyes. The colour changes to greyish and whitish in case of darker skin tones and bluish for lighter skin tones, and can include the nail beds and fingertips as well.  
Doctors prescribe the use of nebulisers for children to take asthma medicines / Source – Medical News Today

Causes of Asthma in Infants

While the exact cause of asthma in infants is not known, a family history of allergies or asthma, or a mum who smoked during pregnancy can increase the chances. 

An illness of the lungs due to a respiratory virus is more likely to cause the symptoms of asthma in children who are 5 years old and younger. Children have more respiratory infections compared to adults and older children.

How to Confirm Whether your Baby has Asthma or Something Else

There are certain conditions which have similar symptoms to asthma. Here are some of them-

  • Epiglottis
  • Birth defects
  • Acid reflux
  • Croup
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Upper respiratory viruses
  • Inhaled object
  • Aspiration
  • Bronchiolitis

How to Manage Asthma in Children?

Speaking to Baby Chakra, Paediatric Nutritionist Dr Pooja Marathe, mentions these tips to handle kids with asthma-

  1. Know the triggers and help to avoid them. 
  2. Learn how to use the inhaler properly, some may not suit the child
  3. Quit smoking around the child and avoid second-hand smoke. 
  4. Limit exposure to asthma triggers. Help your child avoid the allergens and irritants that trigger asthma symptoms.
  5. Encourage your child to be active. 
  6. See the doctor when necessary. 

Treatment for Asthma in Infants

There are certain homeopathic treatments for asthma in children. The doctor will normally prescribe the medicines used by adults and older children to infants. However, the dosage and the way the medicine is to be taken vary.

Inhaled medicines are normally given to infants and toddlers to treat asthma. One form of giving the medicine is by using a nebulizer. A nebulizer is a breathing machine that has forced air to create a medicine mist that the baby can breathe through a small face mask. It takes about 10 minutes for the medicine to work. 

Another way to give the medicines to the infant is by using a spacer. It is in the form of a small tube that holds the medicine released by the inhaler in it. The spacer makes way for the child to breathe in the medicine. In some cases, the child is more tolerant to taking the inhaler with a spacer and a mask.

Inhalers are filled with medicines and the dosage is prescribed by doctors to asthma patients/ Credit – Canva

Is it Possible for a Child to Outgrow Asthma?

Sensitive airways can stay the same for life even in cases when asthma symptoms change over the years. However, with older age, the child may be able to cope better with irritants and airway swelling. Hence, the symptoms might get better and most of those children get the symptoms again in their late 30s or early 40s. 

Whether the asthma symptoms reduce as they get older cannot be found. 

While symptoms of asthma can be detected in children younger than one year of age, it can normally be confirmed once they reach at least 5 years of age. This is because children below the age of one year tend to suffer from viral infections easily. The best way is to consult with a doctor for allergies and blood tests that can help diagnose the condition. 

DISCLAIMER: We have taken steps to check the accuracy of the information & practices shared above; however, it is not a replacement for a doctor’s opinion. Please check with either your doctor, or an expert, before trying any suggestion, practice, or medication mentioned here.











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