What is Asthma?

Asthma is a hyper-reactivity of the airways leading to paroxysmal attacks of airways obstruction which produce coughing, respiratory distress and wheezing.

The airways obstruction is a combination of muscle spasm, mucosal oedema and increased secretions.

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Clinical Features

Usually episodes of coughing and wheezing appear in the latter month of the first year. Over the next two years the pattern remains unchanged with wheezing attacks lasting several days whenever the child gets cold. Nocturnal cough and sleep disturbance is a conspicuous complaint by the parents.

Children older than three years may have coughing and wheezing after prolonged exercise; in others, the attacks are also induced by a variety of inhaled allergens.