Asthma in Babies: Causes & Symptoms

Asthma in Babies: Causes & Symptoms

When we think about asthma, we often do not think that it may affect babies and it is a disease that only adults get. However, according to the experts, if the child has asthma, he or she will start showing symptoms before they turn 5. Asthma is basically inflammation or swelling of the bronchial tubes. These tubes are responsible for the air flow in and out of the lungs.

When the patient has an asthma attack, the tubes swell and breathing becomes difficult for the patient. Wheezing is the most common symptom of asthma among children as well as adults. However, babies with asthma may not show wheezing as a symptom. On the other hand, it is also not necessary that babies who wheeze have asthma. The symptoms can vary from person to person. In this article, we will discuss asthma in patients, its causes, symptoms and possible treatments.


The babies have comparatively much smaller airways. If the baby gets a respiratory infection it can trigger asthma. In case the baby develops a viral infection in the respiratory tract, make sure to check for the signs or symptoms as well which is commonly indicated by a breathing problem.

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The main symptoms of asthma in babies:
· You will notice that the baby is having difficulty breathing and the belly is moving faster than normal while breathing. The nostrils may flare as well.
· During minor activities, the baby will start to breathe heavily.
· The wheezing sound which often sounds like whistling is also a common symptom of asthma but other types of noisy breathing may also sound like wheezing thus it is important to check with a doctor.
· The baby will cough a lot.
· The baby will experience shortening of breath.
· The baby may not be interested in doing his or her favorite activities.
· The baby will find it difficult to eat or suck.
· The face and lips may turn blue which is an alarm to get the baby to the hospital immediately.

There are some medical conditions that may trigger asthma in babies that includes
· Croup
· Upper respiratory infection
· pneumonia
· acid reflux
· bronchiolitis
· inhaling food or other objects

Causes and risk factors

The doctors are still unaware of the exact reasons why babies develop asthma. There are some known risk factors. If the family has a history of allergies or asthma, that puts the baby at a higher risk of getting them. If a mother smokes during pregnancy the baby will be more prone to asthma. A viral infection is another known reason for developing asthma especially under the age of six months.


Getting a definite diagnosis of asthma in babies is difficult. As the babies cannot tell about the discomfort they are feeling, it gets hard to understand the problem. The doctor checks if the baby is finding it difficult to breathe. In some cases, a chest x-ray and blood test can be ordered as well. If the doctor finds that the baby has asthma, he may want to give asthma medicine under his supervision to see if it helps the baby in breathing. If you are not sure about the diagnose done by your doctor, you can check with an asthma specialist as well who can be a pediatric allergist or pulmonologist.

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Most of the medication for asthma comes in the form of an inhaler. It is important to cover the face and nose of the child with a mask. Your baby may not like wearing a mask and in that case, you have to work the other way around and save him or her from exposure to allergens. The medication will start working almost immediately and make it easier for the baby to breath but keep the child away from the allergens is the best way to avoid any further attacks. That does not mean that you need to keep the baby inside all the time but you have to make sure that whenever the baby is outside, he covers the nose and mouth with a proper mask.

You can consult a doctor who can recommend medicines for quick relief and helps in relaxing the airway. The long-term medication is meant to reduce the inflammation. If your baby has asthma, it is important to keep him away from the allergens like dust, pollen, cigarette smoke etc. You can also check with the doctor and get an allergy test done to reduce the chances of an attack. Stress and overexertion may trigger an asthma attack and it is advised to consult a doctor about do’s and don’ts.

Also Read: 25 Effective Home Remedies To Treat Cold And Cough in Babies & Kids (3 months to 3+ years)


If not diagnosed in time, a manageable disease like asthma can also become life-threatening. If the doctors fail to diagnose asthma in time in babies, it can lead to long-term breathing difficulties. You need to make sure that you see a specialist in case you think that your baby has asthma. Also, not all coughing spells are asthma.

Avoid doing medication which may make the situation worse for the child in the long run. A regular check-up is important as the doctor may need to adjust medication every once in a while according to the age of the child. In most of the cases, asthma in babies goes away with time especially if it caused by an infection. Timely diagnose and treatment is important for a healthy and sustainable life for the baby.

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