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Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2010 Jan;2(1):1-13. doi: 10.4168/aair.2010.2.1.1. Epub 2009 Dec 30.

Current guidelines for the management of asthma in young children.

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  • Allergy Diagnostic & Clinical Research Unit, University of Cape Town Lung Institute, Cape Town, South Africa.


The diagnosis and management of asthma in young children is difficult, since there are many different wheezy phenotypes with varying underlying aetiologies and outcomes. This review discusses the different approaches to managing young children with wheezy illnesses presented in recently published global guidelines. Four major guidelines published since 2007 are considered. Helpful approaches are presented to assist the clinician to decide whether a clinical diagnosis of asthma can, or should be made in a young child with a recurrent wheezy illness and which treatments would be appropriate, dependent on risk factors, age of presentation, response to initial treatment and safety considerations. Each of the guidelines provide useful information for clinicians assessing young children with recurrent wheezy illnesses. There are differences in classification of the disease and treatment protocols. Although a firm diagnosis of asthma may only be made retrospectively in some cases and there are several effective guidelines to initiating treatment. Consistent review of the need for ongoing treatment with a particular pharmacological modality is essential, since many children with recurrent wheezing in infancy go into spontaneous remission. It is probable that newer biomarkers of airway inflammation will assist the clinician as to when to initiate and when to continue pharmacological treatment in the future.


Asthma; guideline; preschool child

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