Is Asthma Like Bronchitis?
It’s very difficult at times diagnosing asthma, particularly in children. Asthma is sometimes missed simply because its symptoms are like those of bronchitis. Bronchitis is an inflammation of the air passages, or bronchi, and is marked by one of asthma’s main symptoms that is wheezy symptoms.
In acute bronchitis, the inflammation is caused by an infection, usually a virus, chronic bronchitis is caused by pollution, often tobacco smoke. People with bronchitis may wheeze and cough, but they do not have asthma. Babies are prone to wheeziness and may sometimes be diagnosed as having asthma when in fact it is a passing chest infection. Croup, caused by virus, may seem similar to asthma. Your baby may wheeze and cough and although it usually clears up after a week, it does recur.
Childhood asthma what about it? More and more children seem to be affected by asthma. There is an explosion in the number of cases of childhood asthma, in some countries the number of children with asthma has doubled in a generation. This means increased numbers of hospital admissions, lost school days and millions of children on medication. In Western countries an average of one in seven school children has asthma and almost a third of under fives have had one attack of wheezing.
The most common triggers of asthma in childhood are exercise and infections, asthma sparked off by allergies is relatively rare. Most very young children have attacks of asthma brought on by a cold or virus. Typical symptoms are wheezing or coughing or both, particularly at night, after colds and after exercise. This can be frightening, even if in the majority of cases childhood asthma is mild and can be easily controlled.
Many children do have sudden asthma attacks that are extremely distressing. If your child has allergic asthma, then your family may be atopic, that is, prone to allergies. You may not have asthma, but you may have hay fever or eczema. If you are allergy free then you will probably find that your mother or father, your partner’s parents or either set of grandparents have allergies.