Conditions + Treatments

Asthma in Children

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Asthma’s impact

  • More than 22 million people in the United States, including 6.5 million children, have asthma. 
  • Asthma is the most common chronic medical condition among children in the United States.
  • Asthma is a very common reason why children are seen in the Emergency Department or are admitted to the hospital.
  • Asthma is the most common reason why children are absent from school.

How Boston Children’s Hospital approaches asthma

For the outpatient diagnosis and treatment of asthma, in addition to your primary care provider, Boston Children’s Hospital has two specialty departments that can help: the Allergy and Immunology Division and the Pulmonary and Respiratory Division. We often work together to treat your child.

The Division of Allergy and Immunology evaluates and treats children with various allergic disorders to inhaled particles, food, insect stings and drugs, with approaches ranging from oral and inhaled medications to immunotherapy (also known as allergy shots, or allergen desensitization). We also do skin testing to determine what your child is allergic to.

Our allergy clinics are open in Boston, Waltham, Lexington, Peabody and Weymouth. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 617-355-6117

In the Pulmonary and Respiratory Diseases division, we can help make or confirm the diagnosis of asthma, provide recommendations for therapy, instruct children and families in the proper way to administer medications and provide long-term follow-up when needed. We perform pulmonary function studies in our state-of-the art pulmonary function laboratory. We can assess response to asthma medications and can perform confirmatory tests such as exercise and cold air challenges.

Our sweat test laboratory, used when considering the diagnosis of cystic fibrosis, is open five days a week. Sometimes children have problems with their vocal cords, which may cause symptoms that resemble asthma. These children can also be diagnosed and managed in our asthma and exercise program.

Our pulmonary clinics are open five days a week in Boston, Waltham, Weymouth, Norwood, Lexington, Peabody and Brockton. Appointments may be scheduled by calling (617)355-1900.

Asthma: Reviewed by Martha Fishman, MD, Dale Umetsu, MD, MPH and Elizabeth Woods, MD, MPH

© Boston Children’s Hospital 2013 

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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