It can be a frightening sight to watch your little baby wheezing or struggle with their breathing. And if you do note wheezing in your baby, does that necessarily mean that the baby has or will develop asthma?
It does not. An episode of wheezing (a whistling or high pitched sound that may emerge when the baby breathes out) in a small baby does not necessarily mean asthma, though it could be so in certain cases since wheezing is one of the main symptoms of asthma.
Statistics have shown that about 50% of babies will have a wheezing episode before they are a year old, but only one third of those go on to develop asthma.
Wheezing could also be caused by bronchitis or another infection that mimics asthma.
It is difficult to actually diagnose asthma in small babies, and the diagnosis may sometimes be unreliable.
However, you should look for the following signs which could mean asthma is a possibility:
- Faster or louder than normal breathing.
- Coughing often, particular the sort of cough worsens as a result of any physical exertion
- Recurrent and repeated episodes of wheezing
- A parent with allergies, asthma or eczema can also increase risk