Head of the Allergy Service, KK Womens and Childrens Hospital
Childhood wheezing is a common respiratory complaint in young children. The commonest cause is viral bronchiolitis. Young children can get recurrent wheezy episodes following a viral bronchiolitis infection. Is this asthma? Another common complaint of parents is recurrent cough in children. Children are prone to recurrent upper respiratory tract infections and can present as recurrent cough or appear to have a persistent cough. Is this cough then due to asthma? This highlights the importance of a good history and physical examination in making a correct diagnosis. The diagnosis determines the treatment.
Attempts at developing an Asthma Predictive Index to diagnose children with asthma has not been very successful. These prediction rules are of modest clinical value.
In the management of asthma, inhaled corticosteroids are still the mainstays of treatment. Assessment of asthma control is important subsequently and determine what factors may be affecting asthma control and to address those factors. This highlights the importance of education to improve compliance to treatment and the avoidance of triggers especially cigarette smoking within the family. Asthma mortality is a real problem and do occur in children with asthma. It is potentially avoidable if we can get our patients’ asthma better controlled.
Disclaimer: The Views and opinions expressed in the articles are of the authors and not of the journal.
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