Pediatric-Asthma Action Plan

a young boy using an inhaler to help with asthma

Asthma in Infants, Toddlers, and School-Age Kids

One of the biggest missed diagnoses in pediatric practice is underlying asthma because asthma is a chronic lung condition that may only occur in episodes. Asthma affects the airways of respiration and how your lungs move air in and out. When an individual has asthma, their airways are more sensitive and reactive to allergens, viral infections, irritants, weather, and exercise that may trigger symptoms of asthma. 

These are mediated by inflammatory markers and cells in our body that cause mucus production and airway tightness. The signs and symptoms of asthma may look different in a child depending on age and overall health.

Asthma in Infants

In infants, we have only the outward signs and symptoms to clue us that a child has asthma. The smaller the infant, the smaller their airways which means there is less room to compensate for the narrowing of airways. In babies, asthma may present in the following ways:

• Shallow and fast breathing
• Increased work of breathing—nostril flaring, use of accessory muscles to breathe like sucking in and out of the belly, ribs, and above the sternum
• Wheezing
• Fussy
• Persistent cough
• Decreased suck or feeding
• Tiredness and not seemingly interested in normal play/activities
• Looking pale or blue in the face, lips and fingernails

Asthma in Toddlers

For toddlers, some children can verbalized that they are feeling unwell, but they may not be able to pinpoint exactly how they feel. They may report that their stomach hurts, having chest pain, feeling tired, wanting to sit or lay down, and not feeling hungry. The outward symptoms may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Persistent coughing night and day
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath-breathing fast
  • Increased work of breathing
  • Not as active as usual
  • Fussy

School-Age Kids

While most school-age kids can tell you they are not feeling well and have a hard time breathing, we can’t always count on them to tell us until they feel very sick. For this reason, parents take a proactive role in observing how their child or teen is doing, and the following tell-tell signs and symptoms:

  • Wheezing
  • A persistent cough (night and day)
  • Intermittent cough (after sports/exercise)
  • Chest tightness
  • Short of breath
  • Having difficulty breathing
  • Sleep disturbance from coughing
  • Tiredness—not wanting to go to school or do regular activities

Dr. Eileen has been diagnosing and treating kids with asthma with over 12 years of experience. She does so by taking a detailed family medical history and personal history, review medications and previous ER or urgent care encounters, and current symptoms and lifestyle to help you and your family determine whether your child has asthma and what kind of treatment plan will optimize your child’s health.

She then formulates a thorough asthma action plan to help you and your child navigate real-life scenarios so you will be informed to know the right steps to treat and manage your child’s asthma.

Dr. Eileen Shi

Board-Certified Las Vegas Pediatrician

Your pediatrician should always be your child’s advocate and believe your child always comes first. Little Roots Pediatrics families on their wellness journey with Concierge Pediatric care. We integrate evidence-based care with holistic health principles to provide the most up-to-date, direct-access pediatric care.