Posts for tag: Asthma
Know the telltale signs and symptoms of childhood asthma.
Asthma is one of the most common chronic childhood diseases and it’s characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways. Certain irritants and pollutants can trigger a respiratory response. Our Fairfax, VA, pediatricians are experts at diagnosing and treating asthma in children and teens. Know the signs of asthma so that you know when to seek medical attention.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
While symptoms may develop at any age most symptoms will appear by the time a child turns 5 years old. Symptoms include:
- Chest tightness
- Chronic coughing that gets worse at night or with exercise
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue, particularly with exercise
- Trouble breathing
- Rapid or shallow breathing
Any of these symptoms are disconcerting and it’s important that you turn to a pediatrician for a proper diagnosis. Not only can our Fairfax, VA, children’s doctors diagnose asthma but they can also help you and your child manage symptoms. Since asthma isn’t curable we can work with you to find the right medications to reduce asthma attacks and to get your child’s symptoms under control.
What triggers asthma?
One of the most major triggers of asthma is weather changes; therefore, you may find that springtime kicks up your child’s asthma symptoms, particularly if they are prone to allergies. Other triggers include:
- Indoor allergies such as pet dander and dust mites
- Cigarette smoke
- Household cleaners, bug sprays, colognes, or scented lotions
- Cold, windy weather
How is asthma treated?
It’s important to understand what triggers your child’s asthma so that you can avoid it as much as necessary. When you know what triggers your child’s symptoms you can take actionable steps and create an effective treatment plan. This is something that our pediatricians can also help with. Along with an action plan we will often prescribe two medications: a long-term controlled medication and a quick-relief medication. Long-term medication is taken daily to control symptoms to prevent attacks, while quick-relief medications are used for rapid relief of symptoms when your child feels an attack coming on.
Virginia Pediatric Group located in Fairfax, VA, offers a full range of pediatric services, from immunizations and routine checkups to urgent medical care for children and teens. If you are concerned that your child may have asthma then call our office today at (703) 573-2432 to schedule an evaluation.
While there is no cure for asthma, there are ways to manage your child’s asthma symptoms and to reduce the risk for a flare-up. Of course, to be able to properly control your child’s asthma it’s important to understand more about this condition and what triggers your child’s symptoms. A pediatrician will be a valuable asset when it comes to discussing asthma treatment options and addressing any concerns that you might have.
Know Your Child’s Triggers
There are a variety of environmental elements and conditions that can also trigger airway inflammation and lead to an asthma attack. It’s important to figure out what your child’s triggers are so you can avoid them as much as possible. Of course, this is something that your pediatrician can help you determine as well. Common triggers include:
- Outdoor allergens such as pollen and mold
- Indoor allergens such as pet dander
- Viral infections
- Weather changes
Stick With Your Plan
Once a pediatrician has diagnosed your child with asthma, the next step is to create an asthma management plan (also referred to as an action plan). This plan is designed based on your child’s specific triggers to minimize the severity and the frequency of your child’s flare-ups, which also reduces the need for emergency medical care. So, what’s including in an asthma action plan? Here’s what should be in your child’s action plan:
- The medications prescribed to your child, along with how much they take and when they should take them
- Possible triggers
- Pinpointing the early signs of asthma flare-ups and what to do when they occur
- How to handle an asthma attack
- When to seek immediate medical attention
Take Medications as Directed
Medication is the most common way to manage asthma symptoms. Your pediatrician will prescribe a long-term controlling medication that your child will use daily to reduce airway swelling. When signs of a flare-up appear, a quick-acting inhaler can reduce swelling and prevent it from getting worse.
Know Signs of a Flare-up
Once your child has experienced a couple of flare-ups you’ll begin to pick up the warning signs so that you can start to recognize when another one might occur. These warning signs might come in the form of a persistent cough or wheezing. When these symptoms appear it’s important to have your child’s medication readily available.
If your child is showing symptoms and warning signs of asthma it’s important that you bring them in for an immediate medical checkup. Call your pediatrician today to learn more about ways to help your child better control their asthma symptoms.
Did you know that asthma affects American children more than any other long-term health condition? The American Lung Association confirms that asthma, with its constricted and inflamed airways, wheezing, coughing, fatigue and shortness of breath, is very serious and needs vigilant monitoring and care. At Virginia Pediatric Group in Fairfax, Herndon, Great Falls, and South Riding, VA, your team of 15 physicians helps parents and children cope with asthma, so everyone enjoys their daily routines.
Why do asthma attacks happen?
Ranging from mild to severe and life-threatening, episodes of asthma typically start with exposure to a trigger. It may be an allergen, such as pet dander or mold, or something in the environment, such as outdoor air pollution or cigarette smoke. In addition, attacks may be precipitated by:
- Cold weather
- Colds and the flu
When children present with asthma symptoms, your pediatrician will work with you to identify triggers so you can limit your child's exposure.
Besides identifying triggers, your doctor may order a chest X-ray and lab work to rule out other health conditions. Also, they will do a complete physical examination, including a lung function test and chest auscultation (listening to breath sounds with a stethoscope).
The American Lung Association stresses the importance of an asthma action plan, well-thought out steps to take when an asthma attack starts or seems imminent. The rationale is that the child would breathe more easily, exhibit fewer symptoms, and be able to do their usual routine, including school.
Asthma action plans often include monitoring of peak flow (or the amount of air the child can exhale in a single breath) and medication. Bronchodilators are short-acting medications which mitigate symptoms quickly and long-term maintenance medications help prevent symptoms. Long-term medications, such as inhaled corticosteroids, keep airways from constricting.
Additionally, your pediatrician may recommend allergy testing. Allergies may be treated with shots or sublingual (under the tongue) medications as needed.
An old adage says, "Forewarned is forearmed." It's so true where your child's asthma is concerned. The team at Virginia Pediatric Group will help your family with questions you have regarding your child's condition, and our on-call service can address any off-hours concerns. Our Fairfax, Herndon, Great Falls, and South Riding, VA, office number is (703) 573-2432.
Childhood asthma is more common than you might think. In fact, it is the most common chronic disorder in children, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma is a long-term respiratory condition that causes swelling within the airways, making it different for your little one to breathe. How do you know if your child might have asthma? The telltale signs include:
- Trouble or difficulty breathing
- Wheezing or whistling when breathing in
- Tightness in the chest
- Coughing that often gets worse at night
- Fatigue, especially with exercise or play
If your child is experiencing or complaining about any of these symptoms it’s important that you schedule an appointment with a pediatrician as soon as possible. It’s important to write down the exact symptoms your little one has been experiencing, particularly because their symptoms may not be present during their evaluation. If you have a family history of asthma, this is something that your child’s pediatrician will want to know.
During the evaluation your doctor will also perform a physical exam, taking time to listen to both the heart and the lungs for signs of asthma. Sometimes a test known as spirometry will be used to test the lung function (this is most common in children over the age of 6 years old). This test is used to measure how much air is in the lungs and how quickly your child can exhale. Other tests may also be performed to check for other health issues that could be exacerbating your child’s asthma symptoms such as a sinus infection.
Asthma is serious and requires medication to keep this problem under control. While there is no cure for asthma, your pediatrician’s goal for asthma treatment is to prevent the severity and frequency of asthma attacks. We want to prevent your little one from having to rush to the hospital for a severe attack. Luckily, there are medications that your children’s doctor can prescribe to lessen asthma symptoms.
The type of asthma medication your child receives will depend on several factors including age. Infants and toddlers may require inhaled steroids to control asthma symptoms. The dosage will also change depending on your child’s age. Along with long-term medications that will be taken every day to help control symptoms and keep inflammation down there are fasting-acting medications that your child will also be prescribed (e.g. albuterol), which is only used when your little one feels an attack coming on. Before any medication is given to your child, your pediatrician will talk to both you and your little one about how to use asthma medication properly.