Child Wellness: Kids with allergies or asthma
As a child, did you spend a lot of time at your doctor’s office for allergies or asthma? If you did, chances are, so will your kids. Marcie Fraser reports.
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Diagnosing asthma can be difficult because the symptoms are often similar to upper respiratory infections.
"Some children have early episodes of wheezing, similar to viral infections in infants. You can see if they are having difficulty breathing. If you see them where the muscles in their neck are tight or they are making a grunting sound when they breathe or their skin in between the ribs is being sucked in, those are people in distress," said Dr. Terese Copeland, allergist.
Observing a child during play may help determine if they are asthmatic.
"Because they can't come to you and say, 'Mommy, Daddy, my chest feels tight,' you have to watch them play, so see if they have to catch their breath, are they coughing when they play, coughing if they laugh or cry? Or when they get sick and the head cold resolves within a week but the cough lingers for weeks, then you wonder if asthma is playing a role in the symptoms and it's not just a cold," explained Dr. Copeland.
Seventy percent of kids who have asthma do have allergies, which can trigger an attack. Sometimes, it's critical to get tested. A trip to your allergist may be necessary to find out if you are allergic to common triggers like pollen or pets.
"Exercise induced asthma, viral induced asthma, weather changes, hot, cold, humid weather, snowy weather,” Dr. Copeland listed.
If your child does have asthma, medications include nebulizers, or inhalers, which keep the symptoms at bay.
"The better job that someone does controlling their child’s asthma when they young, the benefits will be reaped later on in life," said Dr. Copeland.