Could Charlotte’s Cough be Asthma?

This chat about cough is a tribute of sorts to the Royal Baby, Charlotte. I have no idea whether there is even a history of asthma in the Royal Family Tree, but I love the name.

Asthma should be considered in any child with recurrent wheezing OR cough, OR BOTH! Technically one doesn’t use term “asthma” until a child is 3 years of age, but it is helpful to consider whether your child’s cough might be consistent with a asthmatic process: if it is, a medication like inhaled or nebulized albuterol might be very helpful.

I believe that the answers to just five questions will quickly determine whether an asthmatic process is a possibility:

  • When did the cough start with respect to your daughter’s other respiratory symptoms? In Asthma, the cough either starts the illness, or develops very early, within 1 to 2 days.
  • When is the cough worse? Asthmatics’ coughs are typically much worse when they lay down, for naps or bedtime, and often worse when they first arise from sleeping.
  • When does the cough disappear? For a typical viral illness, the cough starts to wane as the nasal discharge improves. Asthmatics will continue to cough long after all the other respiratory symptoms (nasal discharge, hoarse voice, sore throat) have resolved.
  • Do any family members have one of the 4 atopic diseases (Asthma, Environmental Allergies, Food Allergy, or Eczema) These four conditions are linked to a common gene, so if relative, especially a first degree relative (parent, sibling), has one of these 4, then Charlotte could have any of the four conditions as well.
  • Even if no family members has been diagnosed with one of these atopic diseases, does a first degree relative cough a lot at night whenever they get a bad cold?

I urge you to review your answers to these questions, especially if Charlotte seems to cough with every cold. If most of the answers fit the asthma patterns described above, then go see your doctor, and start a dialogue!