Dr. Shalini Tyagi

European diplomate in pediatric pulmonology (european respiratory society)

Certification in respiratory allergies and immunology (indian college of allergy)


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Dr. Shalini Tyagi



My baby is wheezing and was put on puffers; does that mean she has asthma?

Children are put on puffers when the physician has reason to believe their airways are inflamed and or congested. Putting a baby suspected of having asthma on a trial of medication is one way to determine if the child has asthma. If the symptoms repeatedly improve it is likely asthma and a treatment plan can be followed to keep the infant well controlled.

What is the most common cause of asthma in infants and children?

The most common cause of asthma in children under the age of three years is a cold. Even after the cold is gone, asthma symptoms along with airway swelling can last for several weeks.

How can the doctor know it is asthma when she is only two months old?

The diagnosis is based on the baby’s allergy and health history, physical exam and the parents’ history of allergy and asthma. A child with recurring bouts of coughing and wheezing with lingering symptoms is likely to have Asthma. Again, if the child responds well to a trial of asthma medications, this is also indicative of asthma.

I stopped giving the medication because the baby seems better is that OK?

Please talk to your child’s doctor before stopping any medication. The baby may seem fine to you but there may still be airway inflammation and premature discontinuing of medication can have an adverse effect on the child’s recovery.

Do I have to use steroids? Isn’t there another kind of medication I can use instead?

Steroids are known as “Preventer” or “Controller” medications and are the Gold Standard or treatment of choice for asthma. Steroids treat inflammation in the lungs, preventing asthma attacks and reducing symptoms. They are both safe and effective.

Anti-leukotrine Medications - (LTRA’s) are classified as non steroidal preventer medications, designed to reduce inflammation in the lungs, improving asthma control and preventing asthma attacks. They are often combined with an inhaled steroid to treat children with more severe chronic or intermittent asthma. Used together, this combination may result in fewer symptoms and it may be possible for your doctor to reduce the amount of inhaled steroid required for good control of asthma symptoms.

Short Acting Bronchodilators are called “Reliever” medications and are used to treat the bronchospasm in the airways bringing quick relief for shortness of breath. These bronchodilators do not treat the underlying inflammation.

What about alternative medicines?

There are no regulations, dosing standards, or large clinical studies with alternative medicines. Using them is therefore not without risk.

Will she/he out grow asthma?

The answer is maybe. Evidence shows that in approximately two-thirds of children diagnosed with asthma, the asthma will “quiet down” by puberty. However, one-third of these who were asthma free at puberty have asthma symptoms in their mid- twenties.

What is exercise induced asthma?

Children who have exercise-induced asthma (EIA) develop asthma symptoms after activity such as running, swimming, or biking. The time varies from 5-20 minutes post exercise before symptoms appear. With the proper medications, kids with EIA can usually play sports without a problem. If exercise is the only asthma trigger, a medication that the child takes prior to exercising to prevent the airways from constricting may be prescribed, but usually exercise induced asthma is a sign of poorly controlled asthma.

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