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How did my son get Asthma?

Q: My 5 years old son is suffering from cough and congestion for the last three months, which become worse when he plays. He sleeps well at night without cough or any other discomfort. The doctors treated it as a viral infection but in vain. Last month, the doctor detected wheezing and prescribed Asthalin, Budecort (nebuliser), Theophyline and Montair 5. But these medicines also proved futile. The doctor is now suspecting mild asthma. We don't have a family history of asthma. How did my son get asthma and how can it be treated?

A:Asthma may first develop at any age sometimes as just a cough or a wheeze, other times it may be caused by exercise or allergy. At times it is genetic and occurs in many family members. The onset of asthma is not uncommon in patients at any age following a viral infection of the respiratory tract. A child who wheezes after such an infection may develop asthma, which may persist for many years only to clear up spontaneously. No cause for this is known but young people with asthma should be treated until they grow out of it. In most cases, effective treatment in children can be given on a long-term basis. The disease should be monitored by responsible people to ensure compliance if the child has persisting asthma. This can be a serious disease if early recognition of relapse is not recognized and treated. Treatment would often require aerosol including steroids and the potential side effects must be considered. Sometimes asthma control in children requires anti-allergy management or special drugs such as cromalyn, which is more effective in children than in adults. A careful regulation of treatment might be required from a physician trained in pediatric and allergic management and this should follow national guidelines since in many areas step-by-step guidelines are available.

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