Asthma often begins in early childhood – but diagnosing the condition in the very young can be challenging because it is based largely on symptoms and is not easily confirmed by lung function testing. In addition, symptoms such as wheezing and coughing often are related to or occur with common viral infections.

Enter the new Pediatric Asthma Yardstick.

Published in the June 2018 issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, the set of practical recommendations offers guidance “for how to move forward with children whose asthma is not under control,” says Bradley Chipps, MD, a pediatric allergist and lead author of the Yardstick. Dr. Chipps is also 2018 president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology.

“The Yardstick describes controller treatments at different levels of severity for all ages, the choices available for parents for their child, and how to start, step up or adjust therapy,” he says.

The Pediatric Asthma Yardstick follows the Asthma Yardstick for adults, which was released in 2017.

Diagnosis and management of asthma can differ among childhood age groups. The Yardstick separates children into three categories: infants and young children (0-5 years); school-age children (6-11 years); and adolescents (12-18 years). It uses patient profiles to help doctors identify what steps can be taken in treatment.

“Differences in diagnosis and management of asthma in children reflect differences in development of their respiratory systems, particularly for young children,” says Leonard Bacharier, MD, co-author of the Yardstick. “Other factors include challenges related to daily activities and emotional and social concerns, particularly for adolescents.”

The Pediatric Asthma Yardstick recommendations can be found at