20 doctors weighed in:

Can small children with asthma eventually be cured?

20 doctors weighed in
Dr. Carol Jacobs
Pediatrics
4 doctors agree

In brief: Maybe

Many children under age 2 wheeze with respiratory infections often treated with asthma medicines for relief - reactive airways disease.
If relatively mild outbreaks they often outgrow it. Those who flare up frequently without an infectious trigger are more suspicious for true asthma. Dailey inhaled steroids can help reduce flares and allow the lungs to grow.

In brief: Maybe

Many children under age 2 wheeze with respiratory infections often treated with asthma medicines for relief - reactive airways disease.
If relatively mild outbreaks they often outgrow it. Those who flare up frequently without an infectious trigger are more suspicious for true asthma. Dailey inhaled steroids can help reduce flares and allow the lungs to grow.
Dr. Carol Jacobs
Dr. Carol Jacobs
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Dr. James Sublett
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
2 doctors agree

In brief: No, this is a myth.

There is a difference between wheezy episodes in young children & the diagnosis of asthma.
Wheezing can occur in children due to viral illnesses (rsv, common cold) prematurity, & environmental tobacco smoke. As the child's lungs grow, the wheeze abates. Asthma can start at any age. Cough is the most common symptom. High risk factors are an allergy diagnosis & family (especially maternal) history.

In brief: No, this is a myth.

There is a difference between wheezy episodes in young children & the diagnosis of asthma.
Wheezing can occur in children due to viral illnesses (rsv, common cold) prematurity, & environmental tobacco smoke. As the child's lungs grow, the wheeze abates. Asthma can start at any age. Cough is the most common symptom. High risk factors are an allergy diagnosis & family (especially maternal) history.
Dr. James Sublett
Dr. James Sublett
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Dr. Scott Williamson
Family Medicine
2 doctors agree

In brief: No, but

Asthma is not a curable condition.
It is a treatable condition that may improve with maturation of the immune system and lungs. The real question is, is it really asthma? Since certain illnesses like RSV can cause asthma-like symptoms for up to 6 months, a diagnosis of true asthma requires more than 6 months of symptoms. If a child gets over asthma it probably wasn't asthma to begin with.

In brief: No, but

Asthma is not a curable condition.
It is a treatable condition that may improve with maturation of the immune system and lungs. The real question is, is it really asthma? Since certain illnesses like RSV can cause asthma-like symptoms for up to 6 months, a diagnosis of true asthma requires more than 6 months of symptoms. If a child gets over asthma it probably wasn't asthma to begin with.
Dr. Scott Williamson
Dr. Scott Williamson
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1 comment
Dr. Michael P Vaughn
Some asthma is triggered only by environmental allergens. Immunotherapy or "allergy shots" can alter the immune system and turn off the allergic response. In these situatuions, a long term remission or "cure" of asthma is possible. If there are multiple triggers for a persons asthma, then allergy shots may improve but not cure this disease.
Dr. Luis Matos
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Depends, not really

Studies have shown that if a 3 years old, has had 3 or more wheezy episodes in a year, has proven personal allergy and has a parent with a history of asthma, then this child has a 60% chance of having asthma.
If all three aren't present then 95% chance it isn't asthma and they will outgrow it. Young lungs with small bronchial tubes are likely to wheeze with viral infections and not have asthma.

In brief: Depends, not really

Studies have shown that if a 3 years old, has had 3 or more wheezy episodes in a year, has proven personal allergy and has a parent with a history of asthma, then this child has a 60% chance of having asthma.
If all three aren't present then 95% chance it isn't asthma and they will outgrow it. Young lungs with small bronchial tubes are likely to wheeze with viral infections and not have asthma.
Dr. Luis Matos
Dr. Luis Matos
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1 comment
Dr. Luis Matos
This is the study- http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199501193320301
Dr. Steven Machtinger
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Depends

It depends on what is meant by asthma.
2/3 children under six wheeze with upper respiratory infections. Half will outgrow this problem. Risk factors for persistence include eczema, family history of asthma & allergy & cigarette smoking in the home. Several studies strongly suggest that allergy immunotherapy started at an early age & given in appropriate doses can prevent & even reverse asthma.

In brief: Depends

It depends on what is meant by asthma.
2/3 children under six wheeze with upper respiratory infections. Half will outgrow this problem. Risk factors for persistence include eczema, family history of asthma & allergy & cigarette smoking in the home. Several studies strongly suggest that allergy immunotherapy started at an early age & given in appropriate doses can prevent & even reverse asthma.
Dr. Steven Machtinger
Dr. Steven Machtinger
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Dr. Michael P Vaughn
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Rarely

Occasionally, asthma is caused purely by allergic sensitivity.
Allergy shots can turn off the production of allergic antibodies and have been shown to product long term remissions or "cures" in both nasal allergy and allergic asthma.

In brief: Rarely

Occasionally, asthma is caused purely by allergic sensitivity.
Allergy shots can turn off the production of allergic antibodies and have been shown to product long term remissions or "cures" in both nasal allergy and allergic asthma.
Dr. Michael P Vaughn
Dr. Michael P Vaughn
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Dr. Jason Campbell
Family Medicine

In brief: Not Necessarily

Young children with "asthma" or reactive airway disease can potentially improve over time and no longer have as significant respiratory issues but i would not say that asthma can be "cured" nor truly "outgrown".
If so, then the original diagnosis should be called into question.

In brief: Not Necessarily

Young children with "asthma" or reactive airway disease can potentially improve over time and no longer have as significant respiratory issues but i would not say that asthma can be "cured" nor truly "outgrown".
If so, then the original diagnosis should be called into question.
Dr. Jason Campbell
Dr. Jason Campbell
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Dr. Yoram Padeh
Internal Medicine - Allergy & Immunology

In brief: No, but...

"cured" suggests a permanent situation.
Some children with asthma can lose the asthma symptoms, but always carry with them the genetic predisposition to re-developing the symptoms of asthma at a later time. Studies show that children with asthma fall into 3 categories: 1/3 get better, 1/3 get worse, 1/3 stay the same. Treating the allergies (with shots) in allergic asthma can improve symptoms.

In brief: No, but...

"cured" suggests a permanent situation.
Some children with asthma can lose the asthma symptoms, but always carry with them the genetic predisposition to re-developing the symptoms of asthma at a later time. Studies show that children with asthma fall into 3 categories: 1/3 get better, 1/3 get worse, 1/3 stay the same. Treating the allergies (with shots) in allergic asthma can improve symptoms.
Dr. Yoram Padeh
Dr. Yoram Padeh
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Dr. Craig Canapari
Pediatrics

In brief: Not yet

Children who develop symptoms in the first three years of life may be more likely to outgrow it than children who develop it later. Current medications do not seem to change a child's chances of outgroing the diease.
Risk factors for persistent asthma include: parents with asthma, environmental of food allergies, and tobacco exposure.

In brief: Not yet

Children who develop symptoms in the first three years of life may be more likely to outgrow it than children who develop it later. Current medications do not seem to change a child's chances of outgroing the diease.
Risk factors for persistent asthma include: parents with asthma, environmental of food allergies, and tobacco exposure.
Dr. Craig Canapari
Dr. Craig Canapari
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Dr. Dean Giannone
Internal Medicine

In brief: Kinda

While asthma is not technically curable, young children tend to "outgrow" their asthma, and might not need long term medication into adult life - not a guarantee, just a possibility.

In brief: Kinda

While asthma is not technically curable, young children tend to "outgrow" their asthma, and might not need long term medication into adult life - not a guarantee, just a possibility.
Dr. Dean Giannone
Dr. Dean Giannone
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