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Colic, wheeze, croup, allergy, and asthma
  1. DONALD PAYNE
  1. Respiratory Unit
  2. Great Ormond Street Hospital
  3. London WC1N 3JH

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    Editor,—Paediatrics is full of terms such as these, which can mean many things to a wide range of health professionals and parents. Professor Silverman and Dr Wilson elegantly describe the problems involved in attempting to define paediatric asthma.1 As long as our understanding of the range of pathological processes resulting in breathlessness and wheeze remains incomplete, these problems will persist.

    In clinical practice an explanation of the probable cause of symptoms, the usefulness of treatment, and the likely outlook is helpful even if there is no name to accompany it. Parents should be entitled to this type of approach, rather than a diagnosis that at present has no agreed meaning.

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