It may be caused by an allergy, particularly if other people in your family have asthma, eczema or hay fever.
Mild asthma is common, and your child will probably grow out of it.
Symptoms: Coughing, particularly at night or after exercise, slight wheeziness, especially during cold, attacks of severe breathlessness, when breathing is shallow and difficult, feeling of suffocation during an asthma attack, pale, sweaty skin during an attack and bluish tinge round the lips during severe attack.
What can be done: Keep calm and reassure your child. If he has had previous attacks, give him whatever medicine the doctor has prescribed. If this has no effect, call for emergency help. Make your child sit on your lap and help him to lean slightly forwards- this makes it easier for him to breath. Don’t hold him tightly- let him settle into the most comfortable position.
If your child prefers to sit on his own, give him something to rest his arms on- a table top or pile of pillows, for example, so that he leans forwards.
Emergency Signs: Call for emergency help immediately if your child has a bluish tinge on his tongue or round his lips, is severely breathless, does not start to breathe more easily ten minutes after taking his medicine and becomes unresponsive.
Preventing Asthma attacks: try to find out what causes your child’s asthma attacks by keeping a record of when they occur. Vigorous exercise and over-excitement can bring on an attack. Some other common triggers are Dust, Animal Fur, Feather –filled cushions or duvets, Pollen, especially from grass and trees and Cigarette smoke.
Dust: Reduce dust in your house by vacuuming and damp sponging, rather than sweeping and dusting. Cover your child’s mattress with a plastic sheet.
Animal fur: If you have a pet, let it stay somewhere else for a while, and note whether your child has fewer attacks.
Feather-filled cushions or duvets: Change these for one with a synthetic filling.Pollen, especially from grass and trees: Discourage your child from playing in long grass, and keep him inside when the pollen count is high.
Cigarette Smoke: Don’t let people smoke near your child.
Call the doctor if this is your child’s first asthma attack. Consult your doctor as soon as possible if you think your child may have asthma. The doctor might prescribe a drug to be given at the beginning of an attack, or before any activity which causes one. During severe attack, he may send your child to hospital.