Do kids grow out of childhood asthma?

As a parent whose child has asthma, you know how stressful it can be to hear your child wheezing or trying to catch their breath. It can also be nerve wracking having to monitor your surroundings and environment to ensure that something doesn’t trigger another attack in your child.

While modern medicine includes treatments to help those with asthma, kids with the condition can still miss out on sports, and even have difficulty sleeping. Because of this, it’s no wonder many parents are eager to ask their pediatricians if it is possible for their children to grow out of their asthma.

So, let’s take a look at what’s fact and what’s fiction when it comes to childhood asthma and whether this condition fades as a child grows.

Childhood asthma: What you need to know

Asthma is a long-term disease that causes inflammation and swelling of the airways. While childhood and adult asthma are the same disease, children face unique challenges that adults may not, including falling behind in school because of missed days.

To keep their kids healthy, many parents find they must constantly monitor their children to keep them away from things that could trigger their attacks such as:

  • Pet dander or other allergens like pollen
  • Second-hand smoke
  • Pollution
  • Changes in the weather or cold air    

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 12, or roughly 6 million, children in the U.S. have asthma.

Some children are more likely to develop asthma because of certain risk factors including:

  • Exposure to tobacco smoke at an early age, including before birth
  • Family history of asthma
  • Obesity
  • Other respiratory conditions including sinusitis
  • Certain ethnicities, like African-American and Puerto Rican children, are more prone to develop the disease

How do I know if my child has asthma?

Many children start to show signs of asthma before they are 5 years old. Asthma in young children, like infants and toddlers, can be hard to identify because the symptoms resemble a head cold or other respiratory illnesses.

Talk to your pediatrician if your child has any of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Wheezing when they breathe
  • Difficulty catching their breath
  • Fast breathing that causes skin to pull around the neck and/or ribs
  • Frequent chest colds

Asthma treatments and medications

There are many medications that can help your child manage their asthma symptoms. Some of these medications include:

  • Long-term control medications that need to be taken regularly to manage the condition, even if your child is not having symptoms.
  • Quick-relief medications called “rescue medications” that are used to prevent asthma attacks or stop an attack from worsening.
  • Allergy medications that can help prevent allergy-induced asthma.

Many of these medications must be taken long-term. Depending on the symptoms of your child’s asthma and what triggers their attacks, your doctor will recommend a treatment plan to manage your child’s condition.

Can my child grow out of his/her asthma?

While there are many new medications that can help your child manage their symptoms, no one outgrows the disease.

The good news is that some children’s asthma symptoms will lessen as they grow older. With a good diet, the right medications and limited exposure to factors that can trigger attacks, your child can continue to thrive. Learn about pediatric asthma care at University Children's Health.

Subscribe icon
Get health living and wellness information, recipes, and patient stories from University Health.
View other related content by:

Tell us your patient story

Share your inspiring personal story of hope and healing at University Health.