Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs caused by swelling and irritation in airway linings. Tightening of the airway muscles restricts air flow, resulting in wheezing, coughing, tightness in the chest and shortness of breath.
Airway inflammation can be due to allergy, viral respiratory infections or airborne irritants. It often runs in families, and about 75 to 90 percent of children with asthma also have allergies.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe and can occur occasionally, daily, seasonally or year-round. They include wheezing (whistling sound), coughing, rapid breathing, frequent colds or respiratory infections, frequent night coughing and coughing after running or crying. Asthma attacks often can be triggered by exposure, including smoke (tobacco, cooking, fires, car exhaust, etc.), exercise (vigorous physical activity), weather, illness and infections (colds, flu, ear infections, etc.), and irritants (cleaning products, paints, perfumes, candles, etc.).
Children's of Mississippi specialists use a variety of diagnostic tests to evaluate your child's asthma and then establish the best course of individualized treatment. The goal to manage your child's disease, reducing frequency and severity of symptoms, with prescribed medications (long-term control and quick-action relief) and a thorough understanding of asthma.