Asthma is the most common long-lasting
(chronic) disease of childhood. It usually develops before age 5.1 Many children who have allergies get asthma, but not all. And not
every child with asthma has allergies.
In most cases of persistent
asthma, the first symptoms (such as
wheezing) start in the first years of life. One study
notes that about 25% of children with persistent asthma began wheezing before 6
months of age and about 75% began wheezing by 3 years of age.2
Early infection with
respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) that causes a lower
respiratory infection is a risk factor for wheezing.2
But other research shows that upper respiratory infections that do not
progress to lower respiratory infections may protect a child from developing
If your child has persistent
asthma, he or she may have:
Developed symptoms before age 3.
allergies in infancy and childhood.
A family history of
Wheezing when there is no viral
Recurrent asthma attacks associated with viral
Wheezing severe enough to require
Asthma as your child grows
It is likely that your
child will not develop asthma even if he or she wheezes as an infant.
About 15% of infants who wheeze develop
persistent wheezing and asthma.2
of infants who wheeze no longer wheeze by age 6.2
About 50% of preschool-age children who wheeze
have persistent asthma later in childhood.3
It is also hard to predict whether your child's asthma
will continue into the teen years or adulthood.
In most cases of intermittent asthma associated
with respiratory infections (rather than allergies), symptoms tend to become
less severe and may go away by the teen years. In one study, children who had
mild wheezing generally did not have symptoms as adults.4
Asthma seems to continue into the teen years in
children who have moderate to severe asthma. If your child has moderate asthma,
he or she may have moderate asthma as an adult.1 In
one study, 75% of children diagnosed with severe asthma continued to have
asthma as adults.4
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.