published Thursday, June 30th, 2011

How to tell if a child is on the path to asthma

Q: I have heard asthma can start at any age. Is there a way to tell if my 5-year-old is at risk for developing asthma?

A: As parents, we would love to have a crystal ball. This is particularly true when it comes to the health of our family. A recent study looked at what were the predictors (yes, physicians yearn for a crystal ball too!) of asthma in school-aged children. It turns out that 40 percent of the kids who develop asthma after age 5 are the kids who have allergic rhinitis. Rhinitis can be allergic or nonallergic, and the difference can be determined by having skin testing done. This is one reason why we watch allergic kids a bit more closely. If they begin to show signs of developing asthma, we can promptly begin some preventative or maintenance medications that can keep asthma under control.

— Dr. Curt Chaffin, The Allergy

& Asthma Group; member, Chattanooga-

Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a question for a medical doctor, e-mail it to Clint Cooper at See this space each week for answers.

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