Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Will my child outgrow asthma?

Do some children outgrow asthma?

Updated: 02-18-2011

Answer

In some children, asthma improves during adolescence and young adulthood. For others, symptoms go away only to return a few years later. Many children with asthma never outgrow it.

In young children, it can be difficult to tell whether symptoms such as coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath are caused by asthma or something else. Sometimes, what seems to be asthma turns out to be another condition such as bronchitis, recurrent pneumonia or bronchiolitis. These and a number of other asthma-like conditions typically improve as children get older.

Persistent wheezing during early childhood, having a skin allergy such as atopic dermatitis or having hay fever are clues that your child may have asthma that's likely to persist into adolescence and adulthood. Also, children with more severe asthma are less likely to outgrow it.

It's important to diagnose and treat childhood asthma early on. Medications such as inhaled corticosteroids improve day-to-day symptoms and reduce the risk of asthma attacks.

Work with your child's doctor to make certain you're taking the right steps to manage your child's asthma. This generally includes following a written asthma action plan to systematically track symptoms, adjust medications and help your child avoid asthma triggers.

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