Does This Sound like Asthma?

Updated on July 27, 2013
M.Q. asks from Perris, CA
15 answers

My 3 y/o Bianca spent most of her first year and a half constantly fighting upper respiratory infections, viruses and all the goodies that come with all that. She's been in daycare since 10 months old and I have 3 other school/preschool aged girls so I expected this. She was once put on Loratadine(sp) once a day for a post nasal drip that was to blame for a cough that lasted a good 2 months! It worked well and I discontinued it. She also has a history of bronchitis, bronchiolitis and pneumonia, my poor baby :( So it seems that every time she gets sick it turns into one of the 3 I mentioned. She's had numerous breathing treatments done on her throughout her illnesses and she has an inhaler that was given to be used when she has these coughs as needed. So she's had this cough for about 2 weeks now, started off as a cold with clear runny nose, and is now a full blown cough, but I figured it must be one of these lingering coughs again. The whole time she has these coughs I check her breathing often and look for labored breathing, or retractions and I listen to her chest/back and I use her inhaler as needed and I also use her steroid med as needed, well yesterday she sounded really bad (wheezy) even after the inhaler and steroids so I took her to urgent care since her peds was already closed and sure enough it's bronchiolitis again. So am I missing something here?is she asthmatic and just hasn't been officially diagnosed?? is it normal that she can't just have a "normal" cough without it turning into a full blown bronchitis, bronchiolitis, pneumonia or rsv? I made an appointment for her for this coming Monday to talk to her ped about this but would like to hear from you guys before I go in, thank you! sorry it's so choppy I tried to squeeze in as many details as I could ;)

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So What Happened?

Christy-I stopped it because the cough went away and didn't come back for a good 6 months or so.

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answers from Tulsa on

Try a pediatric pulmonologist rather than just a generalized pediatrician, with the repeated respiratory problems it's always good to go to a specialist. Sorry she is not feeling well, I hope she recovers quickly

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answers from Columbia on

Loratadine is Claritin. Since it worked for her, why did you discontinue it? It sounds to me like she has allergies and should be on a daily allergy medication. She has post-nasal drip, which causes irritation to her bronchii, thus causing bronchitis.

Why don't you get her back onto the Claritin and talk with an allergist?

ETA: Allergies are often seasonal and will go away and come back based upon what's growing/blooming/gone to seed. Again, I suggest talking to an allergist.

She may very well have asthma. But based upon your descriptions, I'd bet on allergies. You're not describing asthma attacks (which you'd know if you've dealt with them). Allergies can cause all of the things you've described above...and are easily treated. I'd start there. If the allergist determines it's not allergies, they'll suggest a referral to a pulmonologist for a pulmonary function test to determine if she has asthma.

But don't put the cart before the horse. Treat for allergies first (which is better for her little steroidal medications).

ETA2: Just out of curiousity, was she delivered by c-section? Did she have RSV? If so, she needs a consistent treatment plan to get past this. And if she has allergies on top of it, those allergies need to be controlled or the other symptoms aren't going to go away.

Luckily bronchiolitis in kiddoes with RSV history resolves itself over time. And no, it's not asthma.

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answers from Honolulu on

Get Referred, to a Pediatric Pulmonologist.
That is the only way, to get a professional medical assessment of her conditions.

I have had Asthma since I was a child.
But I cannot diagnose your child.
Any cold, for ME, can turn into other lung issues/illnesses. Because, the lungs are compromised.
Any cough, can turn into something else. Or any sinus infection can turn into a lung infection. Because, mucus has bacteria in it and even with post-nasal drip, it can drip down and get into the lungs etc. and a lung infection can then occur. For example. That has happened to me.
There are viral or, bacterial type illnesses with any cold or lung infection.
When/if I get sick with a common cold... I always am concerned, because I have Asthma. And I always thus, get the Flu Shot and I even got the Pneumonia shot series, too.

You need to see, a SPECIALIST.

Also keep in mind: that with Inhalers... you must use it, as directed. Because, people can overdose on inhalers too. It is a medicine. And more is not necessarily, better.

Children and adults, can have different "symptoms" per Asthma.

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answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter was prone to sinus infection and was diagnosed with chronic sinus infections. Your daughter colds could certainly settle in her bronchial tubes hence bronchitis. The pneumonia however is more concerning. Are you sure it is not walking pneumonia? Walking pneumonia is not nearly as serious.
My daughter did end up having a slight immune deficiency that was corrected with another dose of the pneumococcal vaccine.
Hope you figure this out and your daughter feels better soon.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Maybe you are missing a sinus infection- they can run clear when really it has so much in the sinuses that it's impacted. It then drains into the lungs and causes infection in people who are prone to getting infections. This can be from allergies, or food allergies or intolerance.

Could be she either needs to alter her diet or easiest- take the allergy med all yr round. You have to stop it at the source.

Yes, she can have reactive airways. Every cold goes into wheezing. My youngest did that for a few yrs and then grew out of it. Still, the diagnosis won't treat your child or cure her. It just lets you start a routine that might prevent the worst parts or lessen the symptoms by treating it early in the symptom chain.

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answers from San Francisco on

Ditto what Christy said. Get her on Claritin since you know it works. It's most likely allergies and she could be slightly asthmatic. She needs to see an allergist.

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answers from Madison on

Try taking her off any and all cow milk/dairy; she could have an allergy to casein or whey protein. Before I found out I have a casein allergy, I would have a cough that no one could explain. I was told by doctors that I had exercise-induced asthma. I would get rhinitis, sinusitis, chronic bronchitis, walking pneumonia, lots of pflegm, and would cough so hard, I'd pee myself (and sound like I was coughing up a lung).

I have been off cow dairy now for 6 years. All of those symptoms disappeared. I am no longer on any asthma medication. And I no longer get the deep coughing fits I used to get--even in the winter.



answers from Las Vegas on

I would go see a specialist. My son has seasonal allergies and asthma since he was born and he is on singular and Claritin everyday except during the summer. They did some blood work to find this all out. Ask your pediatrician to do some allergy blood work


answers from Chicago on

How's her pulse?
I've had asthma my whole life, and when I'm struggling to breathe, my heart is pounding much harder than normal.

To me, wheezing is not necessarily and indicator of struggling to breathe. Yes, it's a sign. But I will wheeze when I have chest congestion and I just need to cough to clear it up.

Asthma isn't about getting chronically sick with bronchitis... it's an allergy. A constant inflammation of her bronchioles where her body is reacting to something in her respiratory system (not mucus). I'm a little surprised that given her history so far, they haven't put her on a steriod to see how she does.
I've been on various ones througout my life and they do help with chest congestion.

Good luck. I know how frustrating this is to work through, and your poor little one must be miserable.



answers from New York on

Might want to consider taking her to a pediatric pulmonologist. They have so many things that can be tried. Good luck.



answers from Houston on

Yes it could be asthma. I would see a specialist. I know a child who was like that and it turned out to be allergy induced asthma.



answers from Chicago on

Some kids get ear infections some kids get bronchitis.

1. I would want to know what if anything is causing this? I would take her to an allergist and see what they can suggest. She could be eating something or it could be out door allergies. Once you know what.. remove it as much as possible ( ie, out side allergies shower her once comming in from outside- get an air purifier for her room etc).

2. Something my daycare lady did for my daughter, was nose suctioed her throat- it helped her stop couging from the post nasal drip.

3. Honey helps sooth coughs- she is old enough for it. This is a double helper.. get locally made honey if she has out door allergies this will help build up her immune system and help her body fight them off more naturally.

4. I would take her to specialist and see what they have to say.



answers from Portland on

I'd certainly ask the doctor to look for signs of asthma, which can vary somewhat with the individual. I've had asthma since childhood, which is a setup for any upper-respiratory infection going south fast. The symptoms I most notice are a chronic inability to exhale freely or fully, with a wheeze on the exhale if I'm having a flareup or forcing the exhale. I cough only when I'm forcing my breathing, trying to run/play hard, or have an upper-resp infection, or am going into very cold environment. But, as I say, different patients will have a variety of symptoms.

I hope your doctors have pointed out that the steroid medications generally don't make a difference until 2-3 days after treatment has begun. That's why those of us who use steroid inhalers gererally also use a quick-acting emergency inhaler.


answers from Boston on

A lot of allergies can lead to asthma and bronchitis and other respiratory issues. I had terrible allergies and chronic bronchitis - any slight cold would settle in my chest and turn into a 3-4 week battle with bronchitis. A friend of mine had 2 kids whose issues turned into asthma, and one had to be hospitalized every time because she had a heart condition that prevented her from taking steroids. The other one could take steroids, but my friend didn't like the idea of long-term use. Another friend had a child who spent an entire year doing the nebulizer treatments and even so he was sick 3 weeks out of 4. These things can be chronic.

I think you have to decide what approach you want to use. I got sick and tired of being sick and tired, and we got tired of the copays and the endless prescriptions (expensive and just too many drugs all the time). I disagree with some of the posts about keeping kids on meds all the time. The meds are just treating the symptoms, but not doing anything to prevent the recurrence. Of course, you have to treat a critical and acute attack, but it's not working. And she's miserable.

Have you considered strengthening her immune system? That's what I did, based on the experience of the friends I mentioned above. I am no longer on allergy meds and have no allergy symptoms even in these terrible seasons we've had the past few years. I haven't had bronchitis in 6 years (after getting it 3-4 times per year minimum). No one in our family has even had a "sick visit" in all this time. The same immune system boosting (and I can give you all the current research which is pretty incontrovertible) will stop the asthma and the bronchiolitis and the whole shebang. It takes about 3 months but it works if you're consistent.



answers from San Diego on

I don't know what kind of cleaning products you use but I have found that a lot of children's breathing problems come from the chemicals in the cleaning solutions we use. I started using a really good cleaning and laundry product that keeps our home safer for those who are prone to breathing difficulties. I know a lot of moms are unaware that there is a better choice than what we buy in the store. I can show you how to find about them if you are interested. :))

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