Dr. Alan Greene on Signs of Asthma

Is it possible for a child to have asthma without wheezing?


Is it possible for a child to have asthma without wheezing? My 4-year-old coughs a lot during exercise. He does have nasal allergies and his dad has asthma.


Most people don't realize it but some kids with asthma cough instead of wheezing. Those that cough during exercise should be checked for asthma, especially if there's asthma in the family.

There are a variety of different ways to check for asthma. Asthma is defined as repeated airway narrowing. When the airways are narrow, they can measure this by having the child breathe into a tube called a peak flow reader. If there's no narrowing at the time, they might have the child exercise to try and reproduce it. There are higher-tech tests available if there's still a question.

Your child can continue any sport or exercise activity even if he is diagnosed with asthma. Exercise is great for kids with asthma, and if the asthma is properly treated, it will usually not interfere at all with performance. In fact, many Olympians have asthma.


The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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