Too many children are being incorrectly diagnosed with asthma, with inhalers being dispensed for no good reason and becoming almost “fashion accessories”, say two specialists in the illness.
Prof Andrew Bush and Dr Louise Fleming warn that although steroid inhalers are life-saving when used properly, their side-effects should not be ignored.
And they call for more objective, careful diagnoses.
Meanwhile charity Asthma UK says better tests are urgently needed.
In the UK, about 5.4 million people currently receive treatment for asthma – 1.1 million of whom are children.
Writing in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, the two respiratory doctors from Imperial College and the Royal Brompton Hospital in London acknowledge that asthma can be a fatal condition that was once not being diagnosed enough.