English: Asthma is a worsening health concern, with over 8 million children in the United States diagnosed with this chronic lung disease. Asthma is characterized by airway inflammation – which means the airways in the lungs become easily irritated and narrower.In turn, this makes it difficult to breathe. Asthma can be dangerous and costly, leading to multiple doctor’s and ER visits, missed work and school. Asthma can even lead to death.In a child, asthma typically starts as a cough and/or shortness of breath and wheezing, often in association with an upper respiratory infection. Symptoms can also be triggered by seasonal allergies, exercise, and cigarette smoke.The three mainstays of treatment focus on reduction of triggers, disease control, and quick identification of asthma attacks. Reduce potential triggers of asthma that can worsen symptoms: It is vital to eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke (Call1-800-QUIT-NOW to stop smoking). In addition, make sure children are up-to-date on vaccines and their allergies are properly treated. Disease control: Each child should be on proper medication to treat wheezing that can occur suddenly (such as with exercise) and possibly also on long-term medication to help decrease the inflammation in the airways. These medications are inhalers, which delivers medicine directly to the lungs.Quick identification of asthma attack: When a child quickly becomes short of breath, their airways are very swollen and inflamed. During an asthma attack, a child may cough, wheeze, and have to work harder to breathe by breathing faster and using extra muscles.An asthma attack can worsen quickly and children need to be evaluated by a medical professional immediately.Mackenzie Mady, D.O.Family PhysicianDr. Mady cares for patients of all ages at Berks Community Health Center at Oakbrook, 1040 Liggett Avenue in southwest Reading.