Pediatric Asthma Diagnosis and Treatment

University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital’s pediatric asthma experts provide comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for children with asthma.

We’ve invested in leading-edge diagnostic testing and asthma treatment technologies to accurately determine the best treatment plan for your child. As part of the initial evaluation, we determine your child’s pattern of pediatric asthma symptoms. By taking a thorough history, we can make sure your child has asthma and not an underlying condition.

We also conduct testing that may include allergy or lung function tests. We look for other conditions that can play a role in asthma, including things like:

  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA)
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Food allergies
  • Immune system problems
  • Malnutrition or low vitamin levels
  • Obesity
  • Right middle lobe syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Swallowing problems
  • Vocal cord dysfunction

We include treatment or referrals to other team members, including aerodigestive and sleep medicine experts, to address these issues as part of your child’s management plan as needed.

Our Severe Asthma Program offers multidisciplinary care for chronic pediatric asthma and providing education for families on the management of asthma symptoms in kids.

Learn More

Pediatric Asthma Diagnosis Services

Pediatric asthma diagnosis and testing services may include:

  • Complete pulmonary function tests including testing before and after albuterol to look for a response
  • Exercise challenge testing
  • Flexible fiberoptic & bronchoscopy - a scope of the airways to look for inflammation and infection (only needed for severe cases)
  • Testing for common environmental allergens
  • Exhaled nitric oxide measurement: This test can be performed to see if a patient has inflammation in lungs, and can help diagnose and manage asthma. We are only facility in the region with the capabilities to perform the exhaled nitric oxide, or eNO, test.
  • Induced sputum analysis
  • X-rays and CT scans, interpreted by specially trained pediatric radiologists

Asthma Triggers

It’s important to learn how to identify asthma triggers. This helps the child avoid them when possible, or be prepared to respond if that’s not possible.

Common asthma triggers include:

  • Cold viruses: The most common trigger for asthma flare-ups. These are difficult to avoid outside of good hygiene, so families should be prepared to respond appropriately.
  • Tobacco and other smoke: smoke in the air or even the smell of smoke in the air or on clothing or furniture is an irritant that makes asthma symptoms worse and increases the risk of asthma attacks. Tobacco smoke also makes many asthma medications less effective. Keep your child away from all smoke. If anyone in the family is a smoker then the absolutely best thing they can do for their health is to quit. Learn more about our smoking cessation program.
  • Allergens: Most kids with asthma have allergies that can be seasonal or year-round. By testing for allergies, you can try to reduce exposures.
  • Smells and chemicals: Some children are very sensitive to certain smells and chemicals, and most are sensitive to cigarette smoke and other air pollutants. Families can monitor air quality reports, so when levels are poor exposure can be limited.
  • Stress and intense emotions: Both positive and negative stress and emotions can trigger asthma for some people.
  • Medications: Some children have asthma that is sensitive to certain medications such as aspirin or rarely ibuprofen. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is NOT a problem for children with asthma.

Healthy Habits to Help Your Child’s Asthma

  • Sleep: the right amount of sleep is important for your child’s overall health, including their asthma. If your child is not sleeping well or having signs of sleep apnea, our team will help you with this problem.
  • Activity and play: Many people think they should limit their child’s play and exercise, but nothing could be further from the truth. Exercise is a very important part of your child’s health. All children should get at least one hour of moderate to strenuous activity each day to stay strong and healthy and prevent excessive weight gain. Low fitness and excessive weight gain can be especially bad for children with asthma. Unless your child is having an asthma attack, then it is safe for them to exercise and play sports. If your child is having difficulty with asthma symptoms when they try to exercise, then we will find a solution to make this better.
  • Nutrition: Healthy eating and keeping a healthy weight is especially important for children with asthma. Vitamin D pills may be helpful for some children with asthma. Some asthma children have food allergies or eosinophilic esophagitis and have to avoid certain foods. Our asthma team can provide expert healthy eating and diet guidance at your request.
  • Flu shot (influenza vaccine) is recommended every fall unless your child has had a severe allergic reaction to the flu shot in the past. Children with asthma are high risk for complications if they catch influenza virus.
Back to Top