1. After exercise, I often find that I am so short of breath that I must sit down for 15-20 minutes to catch my breath. Is this normal after exercising or could it be asthma?
While many of us get winded to a degree when exercising vigorously, it is not normal to experience shortness of breath for prolonged periods of 15-20 minutes after exercise. This could be a symptom of any number of medical conditions of which asthma is one. Be sure to consult with your physician before continuing your exercise program.
2. The pediatrician said my son has asthma, but he never wheezes; he only coughs. Couldn’t something else explain his symptoms?
Some children and adults with asthma never or rarely ever wheeze; they have a cough that seems relentless. It just doesn’t give up using the standard cough medicines but it responds rather well to asthma and/or allergy medications and staying away from allergens or foods known to make coughing worse. Sometimes, the cough is caused by gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) or a smoldering but undetected sinus infection which in turn causes airway inflammation and coughing spasms. Other possible causes include post nasal drip, nasal allergies, or irritated nerve endings lining the back of the throat. Sorting out the cause of symptoms is an important part of the diagnosis and treatment plan
3. My five-year-old son has had asthma since he was one year old. Lately he complains his chest hurts after brief periods of exertion. He doesn’t cough or wheeze. Is this common for children with asthma?
Coughing and wheezing are common symptoms of asthma. However, symptoms may appear in a variety of ways and are unique to each individual. Chest tightness, shortness of breath, chest hurting, etc., particularly with or after exercise, are symptoms that may be letting you know your son’s asthma is being triggered by exercise, or that he has another medical condition needing attention. Your son’s symptoms with exertion should be discussed with his physician so that the appropriate action can be taken to make him more comfortable and allow him to be more active.
4. I have a 10-month-old daughter who has had several colds over the past four months. She gets a very bad cough for weeks with each one and the cough has a bit of a wheeze to it. I was wondering if she might have asthma and how I would be able to tell.
A cough that tends to hang on long after a respiratory infection is gone, or a cough that worsens at night, and repeated bouts with bronchitis are all clues that could lead to a diagnosis of asthma. However, not all coughing or wheezing in babies is asthma-related. Your daughter’s physician can help determine whether she has asthma or not by listening to her lungs with a stethoscope, taking a history of symptoms related to her coughing and upper respiratory infections, and/or giving her a trial of asthma medication to see if it relieves her cough. But to see if the cough is due to airway inflammation, the hallmark of asthma, all that is needed is a simple breathing test to measure exhaled nitric oxide (ENO). The test and technology is relatively new and not yet available at every medical office so call ahead and ask
5. I am 14 years old and used an inhaler when I was little but was not told I had asthma. I quit using the inhaler when I was nine. Now I cough and wheeze and sometimes feel short of breath but I haven’t told my mom. Do you think I have asthma?
Coughing, wheezing, and feeling short of breath are all signs and symptoms of asthma. Tell your mom immediately that you are having these problems so she can make an appointment for you to see a physician who can test for asthma.