Coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness seem to happen frequently. As a concerned parent, you wonder if your child has something more than a cold. Could it be childhood asthma? In Mill Valley and San Francisco, CA, Town and Country Medical Pediatrics provides the diagnostic skill and compassionate treatment you and your child need to cope with this recurring respiratory problem. If it is asthma, it can be controlled so your child has a healthy, happy life and you have peace of mind.
Symptoms of childhood asthma
According to statistics from the American Academy of Allergy & Asthma, approximately 8.4 percent of American children have asthma. In reality, we all know the signs--distressing signs of varying intensity such as:
- Wheezing on expiration
- Chest tightness and discomfort
- Reduced activity and stamina
- Pallor and dark circles under the eyes
- Recurring chest colds
However, there is no definitive test for asthma. Your physician at Town and Country Medical Pediatrics in Mill Valley and San Francisco will listen to your child's breath sounds, check his or her vital signs and review the medical and family history (asthma often runs in families).
Also, the pediatrician may perform a simple pulmonary function test for children over the age of five and a chest X-ray. He or she will ask what seems to trigger your child's symptoms and if there are any pets or smokers in the home.
After gathering sufficient information, the doctor can diagnose asthma definitely. Together, you will formulate a treatment plan to control symptoms and most importantly, to avoid acute attacks.
As asthma is a chronic condition (although many children seem to outgrow it), control is key, avoiding school absences and limitation of activities and improving overall health and well-being.
The doctor may recommend measuring peak flow on a daily basis. Handheld, a peak flow meter is a simple apparatus which measures how much air your child expels in a single breath. Decreasing peak flow readings indicate an approaching attack or illness and how well asthma is controlled on a daily basis.
Besides measuring peak flow, the pediatrician may prescribe a maintenance inhaler (containing small amounts of steroidal medication) to prevent flare-ups and a bronchodilator, or rescue inhaler, for sudden attacks. Nebulized treatments deliver more concentrated bronchodilators for immediate relief during a cold or flu.
A word about allergies
Children with asthma often have allergies. Your pediatrician may advise allergy testing so your youngster avoids those things which increase his or her symptoms.
Don't be afraid of childhood asthma. It can be controlled, and the professional team at Town and Country Medical Pediatrics can help. Please call the office if you have any concerns about your child's breathing. For the San Francisco office, phone (415) 666-1860, or in Mill Valley, call (415) 383-0918.