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Newborn and Infant Care

About asthma

07/09/2000

Question:

can asthma be caused by having pneumonia my baby was first diagnosed with pneumonia and then asthma

Answer:

Asthma is not necessarily caused by pneumonia in a baby. However, internal and external factors can contribute to the development of asthma.

There is an immunologic component that makes the body either resist illness or become infected; infection can occur more easily in an infant because the immunologic system is not as mature or is not functioning as well as it could. Hence a baby could contract pneumonia because of decreased immunologic function or as the result of anatomical weaknesses in the respiratory system. Presence of allergies, also an immunolgic problem, contribute to asthma.

External factors in the home environment likewise contribute to the development of asthma. Second hand smoke, roaches, dust mites from pets all are known to contribute to the development of asthma.

Children who have a history of bronchiolitis which may or may not be associated with asthma tend to have a greater chance by almost 50% of acquiring asthma later in their childhood. Bronchiolitis is a lower airway infection of the small branches known as bronchioles. The bronchioles become swollen with narrowed openings which causes wheezing, much like in asthma which is largely known as a lower obstructive airway disorder. Certainly, pneumonia if in the lower airway can cause some wheezing if severe enough.

You might want to check our other expert areas related both to Asthma and Immunologic Disorders for additional information.

For more information:

Go to the Newborn and Infant Care health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Marcia   Hern, RN, EdD Marcia Hern, RN, EdD
Formerly:
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati