When is a Cough Not Just a Cough?

5 Symptoms to Discuss With Your Child's Doctor

by: Alex Thom
Don't ignore these symptoms! Speak to your doctor.

There's a never-ending bug making its way around my town these days. Runny eyes, noses, coughs, fevers ... it's always something during the winter months, isn't it? Last year I felt like my kids were sick more often than they were healthy. That's totally normal for school-aged kids, but how do you know when that nagging cough is something more than just a cough? How can you tell when that cough is actually something more serious, like asthma?

Both my husband and son are asthmatic, but they have wildly different symptoms. My husband's asthma is triggered by environmental and animal allergies -- audible wheezing, inability to inhale fully, and coughing fits are his symptoms. My son's is triggered by cold viruses for the most part, and his main symptom is a shallow, dry cough. Both are fine when in cold air (whereas I have trouble breathing cold air and need to always keep my mouth and nose covered to warm the air before inhaling), and exercise doesn't trigger either of them much at all.

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But identifying asthma isn't always easy. Dr. Dave Stukus (who is an absolute must-follow if you deal with allergies and are on Twitter!) always has fantastic tips for parents managing asthma and allergies, and I really liked the tips in this YouTube video he posted recently:

(Thanks for letting me share it here, Dr. Stukus!)

The myths in the video fit for adults and kids alike, so take note! You don't have to wheeze for asthma to be a concern.

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Here are five symptoms that may indicate asthma, so it's important to discuss them with your doctor:

5. Shortness of breath after exercise.
4. A tight feeling in the chest.
3. Inability to fully inhale.
2. Shortness of breath without having done any exercise.
1. A dry cough that just won't go away, and isn't productive.

It's always worth a trip to the doctor to ask about this kind of thing.

Did you know you can be allergic to winter? It's true!