Breathing problems are common. They can include:
Shortness of breath
Feeling out of breath
Gasping for air
Trouble breathing out (exhaling)
Breathing faster than normal
When the child is having a hard time breathing, the skin of the chest and neck may suck inward.
Other symptoms of asthma in children include:
Coughing that sometimes wakes the child up at night (it may be the only symptom).
Dark bags under the eyes.
Tightness in the chest.
A whistling sound made when breathing (wheezing). You may notice it more when the child breathes out.
Your child's asthma symptoms may vary. Symptoms may appear often or develop only when triggers are present. Some children are more likely to have asthma symptoms at night.
When to see a doctor
Take your child to see the doctor as soon as possible if you suspect he or she may have asthma. Early treatment will not only help control day-to-day asthma symptoms, but also may prevent asthma attacks.
Make an appointment with your child's doctor if you notice:
Coughing that's constant, intermittent or seems to be linked to physical activity
Wheezing or whistling sounds when your child exhales
Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
Complaints of chest tightness
Repeated episodes of suspected bronchitis or pneumonia
If your child has asthma, he or she may say such things as, "My chest feels funny" or "I'm always coughing. Listen for bouts of coughing when your child is asleep. This coughing may or may not awaken your child. Crying, laughing, yelling, or strong emotional reactions and stress also may trigger coughing or wheezing.