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Posts for tag: Asthma

By Town and Country Pediatrics
January 17, 2020
Category: Pediatrics
Tags: Asthma  

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
  • Exercise
  • 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.

By Town and Country Pediatric Medical Associates
July 16, 2018
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Asthma  

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.

By Town and Country Pediatric Medical Associates
March 06, 2018
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Asthma  

Coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness seem to happen frequently. As a concerned parent, you wonder if your child has something moreasthma 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:

  • Coughing
  • 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.

Treating asthma

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.

Learn more

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.

By Town and Country Pediatric Medical Associates
May 08, 2017
Category: Children's Health
Tags: Asthma  

Finding out your child has asthma can be surprising, even frightening news. Understanding the causes of asthma and the best ways to asthmatreat it can help put both parents' and children's minds at ease about this common diagnosis, affecting about 9 percent of American children, according to the Centers for Disease Control. At Town and Country Pediatric Medical Associates in San Francisco and Mill Valley, CA, our pediatricians want to educate their patients and caregivers on the basics behind asthma and its management.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a condition that affects the air passages in the lungs. These passages, called bronchial tubes, easily become irritated when exposed to certain triggers; our San Francisco pediatricians often see patients whose asthma flares up from exercise, dust, air pollutants or other allergens. When the bronchial tubes are irritated, they swell up and produce excess mucus, making it difficult to breathe. For some kids, this can be life-threatening, which is why it's important to see your doctor if your child displays any of the symptoms listed below.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

If your child displays or complains of any of these symptoms, see your San Francisco pediatrician as soon as possible:

  • Wheezing upon breathing out
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty "getting over" a cold or other upper respiratory infection

How is asthma treated?

Asthma isn't curable, but it is manageable. Your pediatrician at Town and Country Pediatric Medical Associates in San Francisco may prescribe an inhaler that contains steroids to keep the airways open. For babies with asthma, a machine with a face mask, called a nebulizer, may be recommended. Daily oral medications can prevent asthma attacks. If your child's asthma is triggered by allergies, allergy shots or medication can help control asthma symptoms. Working with your doctor will help determine the best way to treat your child's asthma.

If you're concerned your child may be dealing with asthma, please don't hesitate to contact Town and Country Pediatric Medical Associates in San Francisco and Mill Valley, CA to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced pediatricians.

By Town and Country Pediatric Medical Associates
March 14, 2017
Category: Pediatric Health
Tags: Asthma  

Child AsthmaA common condition seen in kids and teens, asthma is a lung condition that causes trouble breathing and shortness of breath. During an attack, the bronchial airways become inflamed and the muscles surrounding them constrict, making breathing difficult. Repeated attacks may cause permanent lung damage and in severe cases can be life-threatening. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 23 million Americans have the condition and more than one-quarter of them are children under the age of 18.

Asthma Causes

There are a variety of triggers that can lead to an asthma flare-up or make asthma worse. These vary for every person, but common triggers include:

  • Allergens, such as animal dander, pollens, mold and house dust mites
  • Environmental irritants, such as cigarettes, dry air, fragrances and air pollution
  • Infections, such as pneumonia, sinus infection and viral infections of the nose and throat
  • Exercise
  • Stress

Does my child have asthma?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, asthma is the most common chronic medical problem in children. Asthma symptoms will vary in frequency and severity, and most children with asthma develop their first symptoms before the age of five.  Common signs include:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tightness in chest

If you think your child may have asthma, contact your pediatrician. They can help you identify the early signs of childhood asthma and provide support for prevention and treatment.

A child may be at a greater risk for having asthma if there is a family history of asthma or if the child has eczema or frequent bouts of chronic lower respiratory problems occurring before the first birthday.  Keeping your kids away from cigarette smoke in the home or car, removing pets from the house, paying attention to pollen and air quality forecasts and monitoring exercise are all ways to reduce asthma problems.  

The good news is that the majority of asthma cases are only mild, and when the condition is properly managed with medications and extra caution, severe asthma flare-ups can be prevented.  Work with your child’s pediatrician to learn more about the condition and ensure your child leads a healthy, normal, active life.