It is not always easy to distinguish asthma from pneumonia, bronchitis or other respiratory diseases that can affect a small child. Because they share many of the same symptoms and can be easily confused, it is important to see a doctor, who can help diagnose the real cause of your child's symptoms.
There is another connection between pneumonia and asthma: frequent attacks of pneumonia and other infections directed at the lungs may be an indication that a child has undiagnosed asthma.
Wheezing in a child with asthma may not be as obvious as in the adult. Most children with asthma, however, will cough in obvious ways.
Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center reports that wheezing in a child with asthma may not be as obvious as in an adult. Most children with asthma, however, will cough in obvious ways. Coughing at night or after an effort such as playing or crying is a sign that you should have a pediatrician examine it.
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America lists these symptoms of asthma in an infant:
• Noisy breathing or rapid breathing and 50% above the normal rate. The normal respiratory rate of newborns is 30 to 60 breaths per minute, 20 to 40 breaths / minute in the first year and 20 to 30 breaths / minute in the second year. • Wheezing or wheezing while doing normal activities • Fatigue, lack of interest or lethargy • Difficulty eating or sucking • Smoother or different crying sounds
The Wexner Medical Center adds:
• Irritability for no apparent reason, perhaps due to tightness in the chest • Frequent cough • Frequent respiratory infections, such as pneumonia or bronchitis • Accelerated breathing, with a rattle-like cough, in an infant • Shortness of breath and / or tightness in the chest • Severe anxiety as a result of trouble breathing
Unlike asthma, pneumonia is an infection caused by a virus or bacteria. The sacs or air sacs in the lungs become inflamed. Fluid accumulates in the airways and breathing becomes difficult.
The common symptoms of pneumonia are:
• Cough • Fever • Rapid breathing • Lack of appetite • Reduced activity • A hoarse sound when the child breathes out • Difficulty breathing that causes a child to tense muscles and the skin in the neck and chest regions with each inhalation
Respiratory symptoms requiring emergency medical attention
These are some of the symptoms that the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says require emergency medical attention:
• Respiratory frequency 50% or more above normal • Completely give up eating due to difficulty sucking or eating • Blue or abnormally pale nails, lips or face • Nasal passages move quickly • Breathing rapid that causes the ribs or stomach to move up and down or in and out quickly and deeply • The chest remains inflated or ex pandido after exhaling • Lack of response to or inability to recognize parents
About the author
Boyan Hadjiev, MD, has been a practicing physician for five years.It is double board certified in Internal Medicine, (2003), and in Allergy and Immunology (2005).
Dr. Hadjiev graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in biology and an MD from the Cleveland Clinic-Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.