How do I spot if my child has . . . asthma?

‘There is still a degree of underappreciation and underdiagnosis of asthma,’ says specialist

Are you born with asthma and how can it be diagnosed? Photograph: iStock

Are you born with asthma and how can it be diagnosed? Photograph: iStock

Ireland has the fourth-highest rate of asthma in the world, with an estimated one in 10 children affected. If the condition is well-managed, the vast majority of children can get on with daily life as normal but, for a few, an asthma attack may prove fatal.

“It is important this is recognised because there is still a degree of underappreciation and underdiagnosis of asthma,” says Dr Dermot Nolan, an asthma specialist and general practitioner in Tramore, Co Waterford. Failing to recognise and manage it could have repercussions for a child’s socialisation and education, through missing activities and days at school, as well as for their overall health, he says. “Often parents will spend a lot of time going in and out of pharmacies buying cough bottles but failing to realise it could be asthma.”

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