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Asthma Print E-mail


Bronchial asthma is the most frequent chronic illness during childhood years but is also highly significant among adults. The symptoms of chronic asthma which are shown by children are often inconspicuous and difficult to pinpoint. The most serious consequence of this is that a child's asthma is not recognised or undiagnosed and is often not treated properly. Early and accurate diagnosis is very important while, at the same time, ensuring that other children's illnesses which display similar clinical characteristics are ruled out.



  • feeling of breathlessness
  • wheezing
  • breathlessness, especially after physical effort
  • persistent cough, primarily at night


Infants and small children

Asthma reveals itself in small children primarily by signs of breathing difficulties and a chronic cough. In the event of an infection in the breathing passage, infants and small children frequently develop a wheezing bronchitis, also known as an obstructive bronchitis or spastic bronchitis. This bronchitis appears similar to asthma, but may only be diagnosed as such after recurring episodes (at least  3 episodes of breathlessness or wheezing  during a period of six months). According to current guidelines, asthma may only be diagnosed if a defined number of criteria are fulfilled.  Even in cases involving small children, it is necessary to find the causes of asthma. Allergological examinations are allowed to take place from the first month of an infant's life.


What can I do if I suffer from asthma?

The asthma diagnosis is primarily clinical and should, if possible, be conducted in conjunction with a lung test.  As soon as a child is old enough to cooperate, (from 5 - 6 years) it is possible to carry out the same lung test as used by adults. In smaller children it is possible to measure the respiratory functions of the lungs by using other methods.  

The causes of asthmas are sought with the help of allergological methods of examination (blood tests and specific IgE measures). Beware of Prick-tests; we recommend against these as they can cause allergies!


Every allergen is a potential cause of an allergic asthma and the patient's case history helps to define more accurately the allergens which should be tested. Asthma is defined as either 'all-year' or 'seasonal' depending on when the symptoms appear. In the case of seasonal asthma, it is important to identify accurately the season. The most frequent cause of allergens, which are responsible for asthma, are enzymes found in the excreta of household dust mites, animal hair, and respectively, animal saliva and pollen. Medicines are rarely the cause of asthma during childhood.