Care at Children's

Our highly trained team works to identify and treat your child’s breathing (respiratory) condition. We know how scary it can be to watch your child struggle for air. That’s why we focus on teaching you and your child how to prevent and manage breathing problems. And when you need us, we’re here with expert inpatient and outpatient care.

Groups, Classes & Support

Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other parents and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.

Learn more about pediatric support groups offered at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

Research & Clinical Trials

We offer clinical trials for children with asthma, but are not taking on new patients for any studies at this time.

View other clinical trials Penn State Children's Hospital has to offer.

Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook

Asthma is a common, but serious, problem for babies and children. Signs of asthma include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Trouble breathing

Often, there are specific things that can trigger asthma symptoms, such as:

  • Exercise
  • Allergies
  • Lying down


When asthma symptoms are triggered, the airway becomes inflamed, making it hard to breathe. This is called an asthma attack.

Causes & Risk Factors

If you think your child is having an asthma attack, get emergency care now.

If you think your child may have asthma, see your doctor right away. Your doctor will talk to you about any symptoms and triggers you have noticed, and if there’s a family history of asthma.


Test used to diagnose asthma include: 
  • Bronchoscopy. A thin tube with a tiny camera attached is inserted through your child’s mouth or nose and down their throat. Their doctor views images on a screen to see if there is a problem in the airway.
  • Chest X-rays. A camera using X-ray technology is used from outside of your child’s body to take pictures of their lungs.
  • Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) measurement. Your child breathes into a machine that measures the amount of nitric oxide (a gas made in the body to fight inflammation) in their breath.
  • Spirometry. Your child breathes into a tube that measures how much air is going through their lungs and how quickly the air is moving.

Exams & Diagnostic Tests

Asthma treatment

Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be controlled with the right medicine and care plan. Treatment helps:

  • Manage symptoms
  • Treat attacks
  • Prevent lung damage

Some medicine reduces airway swelling to prevent symptoms. Others give quick-relief if your child is having an asthma attack. If your child's asthma is triggered or worsened by allergies, they may also need allergy treatment.

We can help

If you have a question or want to schedule an appointment, call our Penn State Children's Pediatric Pulmonary Office