SAN ANTONIO — Childhood asthma isn't a different disease from asthma in adults, but younger patients often face unique challenges, resulting in emergency room visits and even hospitalizations.

Paul Ramos Costilla is five years old. His mother Melissa says his difficulty breathing started when he was just 18 months old. She told us he had trouble breathing. "Deep breathing. The stomach going in. Treatment wasn't working, so I had to bring him in for steroids and a nebulizer."

She even had it herself when she was a child. She added, "So I kind of know some of the signs and how to take care of it with the medications."

Some of the triggers of pediatric asthma include viral infections including the common cold, exposure to air pollutants such as tobacco smoke, allergies to dust mites, pet dander, pollen or mold, physical activity, and weather changes or cold air.

"He even knows when he needs it himself, when he feels a little bit of tightness he will tell me himself mom I need my medicine," Ramos said.

More than six million children in the U.S. are diagnosed with asthma. That equates to about eight percent of the population. So if there were twelve kids playing soccer, odds are, at least one of them would have the condition.

Paul, like many, has been hospitalized with asthma. "Usually, when he is hospitalized, it's from a virus. Other than that, his asthma is very well-controlled," Ramos said. But he doesn't let his asthma slow him down one bit. "He has a lot of energy."

He has no problems using his inhalers. "He knows when he starts feeling it," His mother said. "He knows when he needs his medication and he will ask for it." 

Paul added, "It makes me feel better." Feeling better is the main goal.

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