Asthma Management Handbook
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Table. Conditions that can be confused with asthma in children

Conditions characterised by cough

Pertussis (whooping cough)

Post-viral cough

Cystic fibrosis

Airway abnormalities (e.g. tracheobronchomalacia)

Protracted bacterial bronchitis in young children

Habit-cough syndrome

Conditions characterised by wheezing

Upper airway dysfunction

Inhaled foreign body causing partial airway obstruction


Conditions characterised by difficulty breathing



Breathlessness on exertion due to poor cardiopulmonary fitness

Upper airway dysfunction


Weinberger M, Abu-Hasan M. Pseudo-asthma: when cough, wheezing, and dyspnea are not asthma. Pediatrics 2007; 120: 855-64. Available from:

Last reviewed version 2.0

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