LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – It’s not a stretch to say that since COVID-19 happened, more parents are more tuned in to coughs coming from their children.

How do you know if it’s just a little cough, or if it’s actually childhood asthma? Every now and then, children get respiratory illnesses, but statistics show that for 1 in 12 kids, a cough or a wheeze is actually a sign of childhood asthma.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that makes it hard to breathe and over time, it can cause permanent lung damage.

Health officials at the UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s hospital say kids might be at a higher risk for asthma if:

  • The disease runs in their family.
  • Have allergies themselves, including skin reactions or food allergies.
  • Frequent respiratory infections.
  • Have been exposed to secondhand smoke.

The big question for parents is how can I tell the difference between asthma and other illnesses?

Health officials say you need to monitor your child’s symptoms over time because the symptoms linked to asthma follow a pattern.

Symptoms tend to flare up:

  • At night, causing trouble sleeping.
  • Early in the morning.
  • During exercise.
  • After laughing, crying, or exertion.
  • In cold air.

Health officials say kids with asthma often develop symptoms before age five, but it can be hard to diagnose because it’s hard for kids to explain how they’re feeling.

Of course, if you have any concerns you should contact your child’s doctor.