Get Smart About Asthma

Real-Kid Asthma Stories

Isabella started wheezing when she had croup at 18 months. Nobody thought it was asthma, but when she kept having respiratory illnesses, our pediatrician eventually referred us to a specialist. She diagnosed Isabella with asthma at age 3, but tests showed she's not allergic to common allergens like pets, dust mites, and mold. It's frustrating not knowing what triggers her asthma, and it's taken a lot of trial and error with medications to keep her symptoms under control. -- Beth C., mom to Isabella, 4, Rochester, New York

My husband and I both have asthma, and we used to joke that we'd name our first child Wheezy. Isaac was diagnosed at 18 months, when he got a cough that lasted for days. Within a year, he became allergic to pollen, mold, grasses, and peanuts. Alex was diagnosed at 5 months, when the odor of chlorine at a pool triggered a serious coughing fit. Fortunately, they've never been hospitalized -- we all take our medicines together every day without fail. -- Trish V.T., mom to Isaac, 11, and Alex, 7, Austin, Texas

Maggie was constantly sick during the first two years of her life. But we really noticed her breathing problems when she and her sister would run to see friends down the street; Maggie would always be coughing by the time she reached our neighbor's house. When she started on Singulair, along with an inhaled corticosteroid, she stopped getting sick all the time -- but she's still had scary episodes. Once, during gymnastics, she sat down and said, "I can't breathe." I always worry she'll have an asthma attack at preschool or Sunday school, when I'm not there, and nobody will realize it. -- Jennifer D., mom to Maggie, 3, Roseville, California

Originally published in the September 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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