Diagnosing asthma in young children is often challenging because infants and toddlers cannot describe their symptoms and because young kids can’t complete certain diagnostic tests. However, asthma can lead to complications if left untreated. If your child has a nagging cough or other possible symptoms of asthma, an after hours pediatrician can determine the source of the problem.
The after hours pediatrician will take a close look at your child’s full medical history. Disclose any other medical conditions your child has and any medications he or she is taking. Discuss your child’s history of prior surgeries, hospitalizations, and major illnesses. Then, the doctor will ask for specific details about your child’s possible signs and symptoms of asthma. Children with asthma may have frequent colds with chest congestion, problems breathing, rapid breathing, or persistent coughing, especially at night. Wheezing or whistling sounds upon exhaling are also common. The doctor will need to know how long your child has had these symptoms, how severe they are, and whether anything seems to make the symptoms worse or better.
The next step in the diagnostic process is to perform a routine physical exam. During the exam, the pediatrician will pay close attention to the sounds of your child’s lungs and heart. He or she will also check for signs of an allergic reaction that affects the eyes or nose.
Sometimes, a doctor who suspects childhood asthma may request a chest X-ray. This can be helpful for determining if something else, such as a foreign object, may be causing the child’s symptoms.
Lung Function Test
Lung function tests, known as spirometry, measure how much air a person can exhale and how quickly he or she exhales. Unfortunately, lung function tests aren’t accurate in children age five and younger because the test requires very hard exhalation. If your child is five or younger, it may not be possible to confirm the diagnosis right away.
When a medical problem occurs after your pediatrician’s normal office hours, you can turn to the caring team of Pediatrics After Hours. Our urgent care facilities, which include four convenient locations in the DFW area, provide asthma care and many other on-site services.