My young daughter has been wheezing lately—could that mean she has asthma?

Maybe. But maybe not:

  • Not all children who wheeze develop asthma.
  • Not all children with asthma wheeze.

A number of conditions can cause wheezing in children. In addition to asthma, they include:

  • Lower respiratory infections, such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
  • Airway structural abnormalities
  • Conditions affecting the vocal cords
  • Choking episodes
  • Allergies, such as food allergies

However, wheezing—particularly recurrent wheezing—does strongly suggest asthma may be present. If your child continues wheezing, take her to the doctor.

Let the doctor know if:

  • You’ve observed any of the following additional asthma symptoms in your child:
    • Frequent bouts of coughing
    • Coughing that gets worse after vigorous physical activity or weather changes
    • Recurrent chest tightness and/or breathing problems
  • There’s a family history of allergies and/or asthma