Can Childhood Asthma Come Back?

Can childhood asthma come back? Asthma relapse.

Are you an adult who has seemingly outgrown asthma? Are you breathing a sigh of relief that the hard times are over? Or, do you ask yourself the question, can childhood asthma come back?

Medical experts warn that adults with former childhood asthma should not become complacent.

Can childhood asthma come back?

Yes, and here's why:

According to an article posted by the New York Times, one in five children outgrow asthma by the time puberty sets in. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America however cautioned that in a lot of these cases, the symptoms reappear after age 20.

Medical scholars have also traced down adult patients who were diagnosed with childhood asthma and found that during their 30s and 40s, the symptoms are prone to resurface at differing levels of severity.

With these findings in mind, medical experts, therefore, agree that even if asthma symptoms disappear or decrease significantly, it is considered as being in remission vs. cured.

Childhood asthma statistics in the United States

Asthma is considered to be one of the most common childhood ailments in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 25 million people in the United States have asthma. Children account for 28% of these statistics.

How to manage adult onset asthma

Even if you haven't had a flare-up, or asthma attack, in years, there are some precautions to take just to be safe. Here’s a 5-step plan-of-action to take with you throughout adulthood:

1. Visit a healthcare provider

Don’t overlook suppressed asthma symptoms. Remember, this is a lifelong disease that can be triggered even without any warning signs. Lung function tests performed in a medical provider’s office is one of the best ways to detect if you have adult onset asthma.

2. Watch out for the common signs of asthma

During asthmatic episodes, the airways become inflamed and constricted. The inflammation and narrowing of the airways subsequently causes patients to experience many signs.

Signs include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Tightness in the Chest

These symptoms most often transpire during the early hours of the morning or at night.

3. Avoid common triggers of childhood asthma

Even with no asthmatic symptoms active for prolonged periods of time, it may take just one long-suppressed trigger to reemerge and set off an attack. Many children and adults with asthma experience sporadic attacks based on common triggers.

Common triggers include:

  • Chemicals
  • Dust Mites
  • Physical Activity
  • Fires
  • Pet Hair
  • Pollution
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Seasonal Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Stress

4. Research new treatments for asthma

Health care providers may use oxygen therapies to reduce labored breathing. Many doctors also prescribe anti-inflammatories and steroids that can be taken orally to manage asthma for the long term.

A good rule of thumb is to always keep a rescue inhaler handy in the event of a sudden asthma attack. These inhalers are beneficial for treating symptoms instantly.

5. Additional steps to take

There are a few added precautions to take if you had childhood asthma and want to protect your health. Consider the following defenses against asthma attacks:

  • Investing in a peak flow meter – These meters can be used from the comfort of home to detect any changes in lung function. If any are reported, a medical provider should be consulted to discuss treatment modifications.
  • Remove allergens at home – Local contractors can be hired to get rid of insects, mold, and other common triggers.
  • Avoid pollen-rich atmospheres – There are high levels of pollen in the air during the spring and summer months. As a result, doctors often advise asthmatic patients to limit outdoor activities during these seasons.
  • Create an asthma-friendly workplace – Evaluate your work area to determine if any allergy triggers are prominent. A quality and portable air filter is a practical solution for improving air quality in general.
  • Get vaccinated – Some influenza strains are well-documented to exacerbate asthma even in cases of remission. A flu vaccine offers an added layer of protection against severe asthma attacks in both childhood and adulthood.

The take-home message

Asthma specialists, allergists, immunologists, and pulmonologists are the new medical specialists of choice for adults who want to take control of their health and those who want to avoid a terrifying asthmatic attack reminiscent of childhood days.

In the end, adults with asthma can certainly lead relatively normal and healthy lives with the proper management techniques.

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Last Reviewed:
September 03, 2017
Last Updated:
October 05, 2017