Pediatric Asthma Management
Children and adults can both suffer from asthma - but children face unique challenges when living with this health issue. Patients with asthma suffer from inflammation within the air passages of the throat and lungs. This inflammation creates a temporary narrowing of a patient's airways, keeping oxygen from reaching the lungs. And to complicate matters, children have smaller airways than adults. This makes asthma especially serious for them.
About 1 in 10 children live with asthma, and it is one of the most common reasons why children are absent from school, go to emergency rooms, or are admitted to hospitals. Research has even found that children ages 1 to 3 years account for as high as one-fifth of emergency room visits caused by complications from asthma. That's the largest proportion of visits among asthma patients under age 21.
At Capital Area Pediatrics, we take asthma care extremely seriously. We can help make and/or confirm the diagnosis of asthma, as well as help create a personalized action plan and instruct children and families on the proper way to administer any necessary medications. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and contact us today!
FAQs on Asthma Management
What is Asthma?
Asthma is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of the inner walls of a patient’s airways. This inflammation leads to narrowing and swelling of the airways. This, in turn, makes it difficult for the patient to breathe - particularly when exposed to additional triggers which can further exacerbate airway inflammation.
What is a Trigger?
A trigger is anything that causes coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing, and other symptoms in a person with asthma. Some common triggers include the common cold, tobacco smoke, cold air, exercise, and allergens such as pollen and dust mites. Every patient has a unique trigger or combination of triggers that they react to.
Is Asthma Just a Seasonal Illness?
No. While asthma is often associated with the spring allergy season, it can affect patients at any time throughout the year. It is important for parents to monitor for signs of asthma year round, and to seek help when symptoms develop.
What are Common Asthma Symptoms?
Asthma symptoms and their severity vary from child to child. But some common signs that your child may have asthma include one or combinations of the following symptoms:
- Frequent, intermittent coughing
- A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Night time coughing
- Exercise intolerance
- Prolonged recovery from respiratory infections
What Do I Do if My Child Exhibits these Symptoms?
If parents spot any of the symptoms listed above, it is important that they bring their child to their pediatrician. Early treatment will not only help control day-to-day asthma symptoms but also may prevent more serious asthma attacks. And in many cases, your pediatrician can provide care without a specialist referral.
What Will Happen if a Diagnosis is Made?
If a child is diagnosed with asthma, the family will work with their pediatrician to develop a personalized asthma action plan (a specific treatment plan for a child that can address and sometimes prevent an asthma attack). Plans include information such as step-by-step directions on what medicines to take and when; how to avoid triggers; what to do between flare-ups; and how to recognize and manage flare-ups if they happen. By following this plan, families will learn how to care for their child and when to call the doctor for help.
Regular visits throughout the year will also be needed to anticipate potential triggers and discuss a child’s careand progress. These regular visits will allow us to update action plans appropriately.
How Can Capital Area Pediatrics Help?
Our team understands that asthma attacks can be prevented if patients are taught to avoid their asthma triggers, use long-term daily control medicines, and use their quick-relief medications in the event of an asthma attack. We are dedicated to providing resources and information to families adjusting to an asthma diagnosis. Additionally, we administer flu shots seasonally, which can protect asthmatic children from serious complications caused by the flu virus.