Asthma? in 4 Year Old

Updated on February 04, 2012
D.M. asks from Littleton, CO
7 answers

Audrey S.'s question got me thinking... My son's dr. said she's not ready to diagnose him with asthma, but he does show some signs. For those of you with kids with Asthma, what are some things you recommend I do to help alleviate the symptoms - esp when he has a cold?

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answers from New York on

Well just because he doesn't have the official diagnosis of asthma doesn't mean she can't give you tips to keep him healthy. Ask her questions like "OK so what do I do if he's running outside and suddenly can't catch his breath?" "What do I do when he starts coughing or wheezing and has trouble breathing?" "How should I handle it if he can't get a full lung full of air and his lips are starting to tint blue?"

He may not have asthma however some children, like my 2nd daughter, can have shortness of breath when they have congestion from a chest cold. She's not asthmatic however she has been on breathing treatments due to the congestion.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Steamy showers. Every night. Especially if he's been playing in the leaves, grass, etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

What you can do to help may depend on what the asthma triggers are.

My son was diagnosed with asthma, when he was 2. Most of his issues, so far, occur when he is sick. Since, he is now just 3, we still need more experience on what his triggers are. Our current strategy is to do breathing treatments using preventative/maintenance asthma medicine once a day in the winter (sick season) and bump it up to 2-3 times a day at the first sign of illness. We do fast-acting treatments as needed, which isn't often if we keep up on the preventative/maintenance medicine correctly. The breathing treatments have made a huge difference. Before he was diagnosed and being treated, he would have a terrible lingering cough each time he got a cold or ear infection. Now, it is significantly reduced and his colds don't seem that bad anymore.

Since it's not uncommon for asthma to be allergy triggered, especially with dust mites, we removed the carpet from his bedroom and put wood shutters in instead of cloth shades. We have one of those mattress covers that are good for allergies. Our only current potential issue is that he likes to sleep on a pillow pet, which cannot be covered by an allergen reducing pillow case. We just have to make sure his pillow pet gets washed and dried regularly.

Cold weather can be a trigger for some people with asthma. So maybe keep him inside if it's cold out and he is sick?

If nasal congestion is causing him to cough a lot, maybe look into saline nasal treatments to help keep his nose clear.

Ask your doctor if a humidifier will help. I have mild asthma and my mom used to use one when I got sick as a child. I don't particularly remember it helping that much. You have to be careful with using a humidifier though that it's kept well clean and doesn't get moldy (which could actually be worse for asthma).

I'd also ask your doctor if she would prescribe breathing treatments to your son when he has a cold if he shows asthma symptoms. I've known other parents to give breathing treatments to their kids for certain illnesses even though they are not diagnosed with asthma.

If exercise makes it worse when he is sick, then switch to calmer activities. That can be tough to do with a little one though.

I'd ask your doctor what treatments she would suggest even without the official asthma diagnosis. And if the non breathing treatment options don't work, I'd ask your doctor about that. If nothing else is working and your son is short of breath or wheezing, then it's definitely worth checking out.

Even adults sometimes temporarily go on asthma medicine for some illnesses, like bronchitis. You don't have to be diagnosed with asthma in order for the medicine to be beneficial under certain circumstances.

You could also go see an asthma specialist.

BTW, breathing treatments can be one of two things depending on how well your child can control his inhalation. An inhalar requires the ability to slowly inhale, but it's quick to administer. A nebulizer is typically used for small kids where controlling inhalation (or monitoring their inhalation) may be difficult. The downside is that it takes longer to administer.



answers from Seattle on

My son does't have asthma... we have a "mystery respiratory issue" that is similar to asthma (he get bronchiospasms that are hallmark to asthma, he just goes several steps further with atelectasis -multiple areas of partial lung collapse-, pneumonia, and bilateral plueral effusions). The ONLY thing that works for us is meds.

We've had allergy testing & sensitivity testing. He's not allergic to ANYTHING (except certain medicines), and isn't even sensitive to smoke, exhaust, perfumes. GO GET that allergy & sensitivity testing, because if there's a dust, pollen, food, whatever allergy or reaction... getting rid of those will be pretty key. An "easy" button of getting rid of triggers.

We've had infection testing (sinuses, ears, lungs) to test for common and not so common infections which can mimic asthma. Cure the infection, cure the congestion. Another easy button.

We've been away from peds/GPs for awhile now, and are purely in with specialists (pulmonology, rheumatology, cardiology, etc.). GET those specialists involved.

Those specialists are where you learn how to spot, what to treat with, & get the gear to keep at home / in the car/ etc. They do a gazillion and 1 more tests to search for/ rule out other causes.

Asthma is a diagnosis of inclusion. A NUMBER of things need to be present for it to "be" asthma. We've been dx'd w/ asthma 5 times now, and had it yanked away an equal number of times. What my son has ISN'T asthma, but it's treated like it is. Also treated similarly to cystic fibrosis (it isn't CF, either), and COPD. There are a LOT of things LIKE asthma (over 80 differentials) that aren't asthma. Doesn't mean you don't treat it. But getting the testing done to either diagnose or find the best treatment is pretty key.



answers from Denver on

Asthma is the outward signs of allergies. I think finding out what the allergies are and dealing with that would eliminate the asthmatic problem. OR sometimes asthma is the result of a systemic yeast infection, which is very common--especially if your child has had anti-biotics at any time in his life. Both my kids have allergies and we have dealt with it through all natural, alternative methods. If you are interested in hearing more I'd be happy to fill you in!!


answers from Dallas on

Air quality is important. If any smokers at your house...... now is the time to make smoking outside important. Switch to non-toxic cleaners and be careful what you use in the house all around. I can send you a link if you like to cleaners. there are also books to guide you in this area in regard to furniture, carpeting, etc.... Some people have cured their asthma merely by removing these from the home.

Alfalfa (root) is a natural antihistamine. Consider that daily. A great multivitamin and omega too. I have links for these items if you need recommendations.

When your child does get a cold use a humidifier.



answers from Denver on

My daughter has asthma, but zero allergies. The poor kiddo never got just a cold, it always became bronchitis. She is now well controlled with singulair, and doesn't need an inhaler. You got lots of tips about amending his environment to reduce triggers. But you asked about colds. I'm wondering if your doc would prescribe a nebulizer. That helps a lot, you just run the little machine and put something like albuterol in it, it just helps open or keep open the airways, especially during colds or coughing. That made a big difference for us, and is easy to do. Might be worth asking, even before the diagnosis comes. Good luck.

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