Clearing THE AIR
Q My 14-month-old gets wheezy whenever he has a cold, but my GP says it’s too early to call it asthma. Why?
A Paediatrician Dr Mike Starr says: Babies in the first 12 to 18 months of life often get wheezy when they have a cold, but this doesn’t mean they have asthma. These babies may have bronchiolitis, a viral illness affecting the small tubes (bronchioles) in the lungs. It begins as a cold, but then a cough and wheeze develop. It’s tricky, because asthma in young children is usually triggered by a cold, so it often presents in the same way as bronchiolitis. One difference can be that Ventolin works for children with asthma, but doesn’t usually work for those with bronchiolitis. But even that doesn’t always help us determine whether a child has one or the other, since children under about 12 months of age don’t usually respond to Ventolin, even if they have asthma!