What is Silent Asthma in Children?

African-American girl with inhaler having asthma attack outdoors on spring day

Asthma is a chronic lung condition that affects millions of children in the U.S. Most children exhibit audible signs of asthma, such as coughing and wheezing. However, if your child has silent asthma, the symptoms may not be as easy to spot. 

In addition to traditional asthma symptoms, it’s essential to keep an eye out for inaudible signs of asthma in your child. In this article, we discuss: 

  • The causes of silent asthma 
  • The symptoms of silent asthma 
  • Treatment options 

If you suspect your child has asthma, we recommend scheduling an appointment with an experienced pediatrician at Newport Children’s Medical Group as soon as possible. Contact us today for expert diagnostics and treatment for asthma. 

Continue reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for silent asthma. 

What Causes Silent Asthma in Children? 

Other than the audible symptoms, there are no differences between asthma and silent asthma. With that in mind, the exact causes of asthma in children are not always clear. 

In many cases, asthma symptoms don’t become apparent until a child is exposed to specific triggers. A few of the most common asthma triggers for children include: 

  • Low air quality 
  • Pollution 
  • Smoke 
  • Chemicals 
  • Airborne allergens (i.e., pollen, mold, dust mites, etc.)
  • Exercise or strenuous physical activity 
  • Respiratory infections 

If you notice your child has breathing difficulties when around certain triggers, it’s best to remove them from that environment as soon as possible. Further, you should schedule an appointment with a trusted asthma pediatrician for an expert diagnosis and treatment plan. 

What Are The Symptoms Of Silent Asthma? 

When a child displays possible signs of asthma (i.e., coughing, wheezing, etc.), it’s generally easier to identify and seek treatment. However, if your child has silent asthma, it can be challenging for you or them to understand what’s happening. 

It may be time to schedule an appointment with a pediatric asthma specialist if your child exhibits the following symptoms: 

  • Unexplainable Fatigue – If your child is experiencing tightness in their chest, it can be challenging for them to breathe optimal amounts of oxygen. This can lead to fatigue in moments you wouldn’t typically expect your child to be tired. 
  • Shortness of Breath – Sometimes, the only sign of silent asthma is a child’s struggle to breathe while participating in sporting activities or during cold weather. Further, your child may get short of breath by just walking a few flights of stairs, lifting groceries, etc.
  • Inability to Sleep – When a young person can’t properly breathe at night, it can be nearly impossible to get a good night’s sleep. That can lead to irritability, inability to focus, and many other issues. 
  • Frequent Sickness – In some cases, a child’s frequent cold-like symptoms are signs of asthma. Suppose your child catches a common cold or flu much more than other children their age or anyone else in your household. In that case, it’s in your best interest to schedule an appointment with your family pediatrician as soon as possible. 

In addition to the symptoms of silent asthma listed above, some children also exhibit frequent yawning/sighing, shallow breathing, and rapid breathing. It’s important to note that the symptoms mentioned above are not considered “clinical symptoms” of asthma. Instead, they are the result of uncontrolled asthma in children. 

How Do You Treat Silent Asthma?

Before you can treat your child’s asthma symptoms, you’ll need a professional diagnosis. Our world-class pediatricians at Newport Children’s Medical Group use various tools and techniques to help uncover asthma diagnoses, including medical history review, physical exams, lung function tests, allergy testing, and more. 

A few of the most common asthma treatments include: 

  • Long-term asthma control medicine like bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Quick-relief medications (i.e., Rescue medication)
  • Avoiding triggers 
  • Staying indoors when the air quality is bad 
  • Keeping your home as dust-free as possible
  • Changing your air filters often 
  • Encouraging your child to participate in light exercises (if pediatrician approved)
  • Eating a healthy diet 

Generally, taking the proper steps to avoid triggers, long-term asthma control medications, and quick-relief inhalers are critical aspects of most treatment plans. However, every treatment plan is unique to your child’s specific needs. It’s important to develop an asthma action plan with your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible. 

Contact Newport Children’s Medical Group Today

Don’t wait until your child experiences severe asthma symptoms before seeking medical help. Our pediatric asthma specialists are top-rated, world-renowned, and ready to help you and your child build the best possible asthma action plan. 

If you suspect your child has asthma, contact Newport Children’s Medical Group today to schedule an appointment with a top-rated pediatric asthma specialist in California.