How Do You Know If An Infant Has Asthma?

My 18-month-old son was diagnosed with asthma two months ago. When he was three months old he had bronchiolitis, and at six months he had congestion but no wheezing. Is this asthma?

Physicians hear this story frequently. Asthma is defined as reversible airway obstruction and may be either intermittent (often associated with viral respiratory infections or allergen exposure) or persistent. The episodes you describe sound as if they are at least intermittent asthma.

Your physician can establish whether or not your child has any persistent residual asthma following an acute illness.

It is difficult to do breathing tests before four or five years of age, but the doctor can usually tell if your child has asthma by the symptoms that are present and a physical examination.

It is not unusual for children to have fewer respiratory infections as they get older (often as early as five years of age), and these infections often tend to cause less difficulty. If this is the case with your son, it is unlikely that he will have persistent asthma.

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