All About Asthma

All About Asthma

As parents, caregivers, and educators, ensuring the well-being of our children is our top priority. One aspect of their health that requires special attention is respiratory health, and one common respiratory condition affecting children is asthma. Asthma can be a daunting prospect for both children and their guardians, but with the right knowledge and management, it can be effectively controlled.

Understanding Asthma:

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by inflammation of the airways, leading to symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. While the exact cause of asthma remains unknown, a combination of genetic and environmental factors is believed to contribute to its development.

Recognizing Asthma Symptoms:

Identifying asthma symptoms in children can be challenging, as they might not always articulate their discomfort. Common signs include:

  1. Frequent Coughing: A persistent cough, especially at night or during physical activity, could be an early indication of asthma.
  2. Wheezing: A high-pitched whistling sound when breathing, particularly exhaling, may suggest airway constriction.
  3. Shortness of Breath: Children with asthma may experience difficulty breathing or complain of feeling breathless.
  4. Chest Tightness: Some children describe a sensation of pressure or tightness in the chest during an asthma episode.

Common Triggers:

Understanding and avoiding triggers can help manage asthma effectively. Common triggers for asthma in kids include:

  1. Allergens: Pollen, dust mites, mold, and pet dander are common allergens that can exacerbate asthma symptoms.
  2. Respiratory Infections: Colds, flu, and other respiratory infections can trigger asthma episodes.
  3. Exercise: While exercise is crucial for overall health, physical activity can sometimes trigger asthma symptoms.
  4. Environmental Factors: Changes in weather, exposure to smoke, and air pollution can contribute to asthma symptoms.

Managing Asthma in Kids:

  1. Create an Asthma Action Plan: Work with your child’s Pediatric Center provider to develop a personalized asthma action plan that includes information on medications, symptoms, and emergency procedures.
  2. Medication Adherence: Ensure your child takes prescribed medications consistently, both daily controller medications and quick-relief medications as needed.
  3. Identify and Minimize Triggers: Take steps to reduce exposure to common triggers, such as using air purifiers, keeping living spaces clean, and avoiding known allergens.
  4. Promote Healthy Habits: Encourage a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep to strengthen overall respiratory health.
  5. Open Communication: Foster open communication with your child about their symptoms, feelings, and concerns related to asthma. This helps them actively participate in their own care.

While asthma in kids can be challenging, proactive management strategies can significantly improve their quality of life. By understanding the condition, recognizing symptoms, identifying triggers, and implementing effective management techniques, parents and caregivers can empower their children to lead active, healthy lives despite asthma. If you have any questions about asthma or your child’s symptoms, contact the Pediatric Center. The Pediatric Center has been providing comprehensive care for infants, children, and teens in Idaho Falls and Rigby for over 55 years. Contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment.

 

 

 

All About Allergies!

All About Allergies!

Everyone is excited about spring with the warmer temperatures and sunshine it can bring! However, for those that struggle with allergies, the increased pollens in the air can cause miserable allergy symptoms. Nasal allergies are an allergic reaction of the nose and sinuses to an inhaled substance. Most allergens float in the air. Trees, grass, weeds, and mold are the most common pollens. Tree pollens come in the spring, grass pollens come in the summer, and weed pollens come in the fall. Most nasal allergies continue through pollen season and can last 4 to 8 weeks.

Seasonal pollen allergies usually begin around 2 to 5 years and peak in school-aged children, teens, and young adults. Pollen symptoms are rare in children under 2 since they require at least 2 seasons of exposure to the pollen. If a child under 2 has chronic nasal symptoms, it is most likely due to other causes such as recurrent colds, large adenoids, or a cow’s milk allergy. Fevers do not accompany nasal allergies.

SYMPTOMS OF NASAL ALLERGIES

  • Clear nasal discharge with sneezing, sniffing, and itching of the nose
  • Red, watery, itchy, and puffy eyes
  • Ear and sinus congestion or fullness
  • Scratchy, hoarse, or tickly throat
  • Itchy ear canals or skin
  • Symptoms occur during pollen season
  • Similar symptoms occur during the same month of the last year

TIPS TO HELP WITH NASAL ALLERGIES

Have your child shower before bedtime to remove the pollen from the hair and skin. Keep windows closed in the home and the car, and turn on the air conditioner in your car to recirculate to help. Try to avoid window or attic fans which can pull in pollen. It is also helpful to stay indoors on windy days because pollen counts are much higher when it is dry and windy! Last, avoid playing with outdoor dogs, pollen collects in their fur.

MEDICATION FOR ALLERGIES

The key to controlling allergies is to give allergy medication every day during pollen season. 

  • Allergy medicines are called antihistamines. They are the drug of choice for nasal allergies to help control symptoms such as runny nose, nasal itching, and sneezing.
  • You can give a short-acting allergy over-the-counter medicine such as Benadryl every 6-8 hours.
  • The bedtime dosage is especially important for healing the lining of the nose.
  • You can also use a long-acting over-the-counter allergy medicine such as Zyrtec. This medicine usually lasts up to 24 hours and may cause less drowsiness than Benadryl.

NASAL WASHES TO WASH OUT POLLEN

Saline nose drops or spray can help with seasonal allergies and are available at any drugstore without a prescription. This treatment helps to wash out pollen or to loosen up dried mucus. Put 3 drops in each nostril, blow each nostril out while closing off the other nostril, then repeat on the other side. Repeat nose drops and blowing until the discharge is clear.

Use nasal washes when your child can’t breathe through the nose or their nose is very itchy. Saline nose drops can also be made at home. Use ½ teaspoon of table salt, and stir the salt into 1 cup (8 ounces) of warm distilled or boiled water. A warm shower can also be effective to loosen mucus. Have your child breathe in the moist air, then blow each nostril.

If your child’s symptoms are not better in 2 days after starting an allergy medicine, contact the Pediatric Center for an appointment. At the Pediatric Center, we want to give you and your child the best information and treatment you can get. If your child becomes worse or you are concerned about your child’s health for any reason, please don’t hesitate to call the Pediatric Center. You can contact us at our Idaho Falls location at (208) 523-3060 or our Rigby location (208) 745-8927, to set up your appointment. We have a wonderful team of providers available for all of your children’s needs!