You hear your four-year-old coughing during the night. She seems to wheeze, too, when running at the playground. Is it a cold, or could she have asthma? At Southwestern Pediatrics in Maricopa, AZ, your pediatrician and his professional team evaluate children for this chronic respiratory condition. Dr. Anthony DiGeorge sees scores of youngsters struggling with the difficult symptoms of asthma, but with good, managed care, they thrive.
What is asthma?
It's a chronic respiratory condition which often expresses itself in childhood--typically before the age of five, states the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology. Known for its quick and sometimes intense symptom onset, asthma involves inflammation and constriction of the airway, resulting in:
- Audible wheezing
- Coughing (particularly at night and after exercise, laughing, or crying)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest discomfort
- Fast, shallow respirations
Checking for and treating childhood asthma
If your child presents these symptoms, see your pediatrician at Southwest Pediatrics in Maricopa for a check-up. Dr. DiGeorge will do a complete physical examination, including chest auscultation (listening to breath sounds with a stethoscope) and possible:
- Blood work to assess the white blood cell count and other factors
- Chest X-rays
- Spirometry (to assess how much air your child can exhale)
Then, you'll discuss an asthma treatment plan going forward. It may include fast-acting bronchodilators (inhaled), an asthma control medication with corticosteroids, measuring peak flow (how much air your child expels in one breath) and sublingual immunotherapy to control allergy triggers.
With an Asthma Action Plan, the American Lung Association helps young patients, parents, and teachers track symptoms, medications, and necessary responses to active symptoms. You can ask Dr. DiGeorge what your child can do when symptoms increase.
It's helpful for young patients and their families to know what triggers asthma. Common things most asthma sufferers should avoid are:
- Tobacco and wood smoke
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- Outside and indoor air pollution (car exhaust, paint fumes, carpet odors)
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that asthma triggers differ from patient to patient. However, the key to good control of symptoms is knowing your triggers and how to minimize exposure to them. Additionally, stress and heredity play a significant role in asthma. So be aware of what upsets your child and think about family members who also seem to exhibit symptoms of allergies and asthma. Experts believe asthma runs in families.
If you suspect your child has asthma, don't wait. Please contact Southwest Pediatrics in Maricopa, AZ, for a careful evaluation by our professional team. Call today: (520) 568-9500.