Asthma is a condition that affects the lungs. It typically starts early in childhood and is very common in the United Kingdom. Most children with asthma are symptom free for much of the time. Episodically, they develop difficulty in breathing characterised by wheezing (a whistling sound when they breathe out).
Typical triggers for these symptoms are colds, exercise and allergens such as cats. Sometimes these exacerbations are severe enough to require hospital admission.
Asthma is difficult to accurately diagnosis as there is no test for it. Sometimes doctors need to see how a patient responds to an asthma treatment to assess whether or not they have asthma.
The key part of treatment is identifying asthma triggers, many of which are allergens. Each patient should have their own specific management plan to direct treatment for any exacerbations. Patients with frequent exacerbations need daily treatment with a preventer inhaler or tablet.