Pediatrics, Travel Medicine, & Pediatric Obesity Medicine located in Wellesley, MA and Waltham, MA
Asthma can make your child feel like they’re choking because they can’t draw enough breath into their lungs. If your child has asthma symptoms, the experts in children’s health at Newton Pediatrics can help. At their offices in Wellesley and Waltham, Massachusetts, your child undergoes a comprehensive evaluation and receives the treatment they need to keep asthma attacks at bay. To find out how you can help your child manage their asthma, call your nearest Newton Pediatrics office or book an appointment online today.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease of the airways and lungs. It causes chronic inflammation and narrows the airways, resulting in difficulties breathing.
If your child has asthma, their inflamed tissues are extremely sensitive or hyperreactive. When exposed to an asthma trigger, your child’s airways may spasm. That causes further narrowing that can severely restrict the amount of air your child can draw into their lungs.
This constriction causes wheezing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath. Other symptoms of asthma in children include:
- Frequent coughing
- Whistling sound when exhaling
- Trouble sleeping
- Severe coughing or wheezing with a cold
- Delayed recovery from respiratory infections
- Developing bronchitis after a cold
- Difficulties playing or exercising
A severe asthma attack is potentially life-threatening, so identifying and treating asthma is vital. Newton Pediatrics has extensive experience in diagnosing and managing asthma.
What might trigger an asthma attack?
Common triggers for asthma attacks include:
- Cigarette smoke
- Pet dander
- Mold spores
- Viral infections like colds
- Cold air
- Physical activity
In children with exercise-induced asthma, physical activity is the primary trigger.
How is asthma diagnosed?
Your child’s symptoms are an indication that they have asthma, but other conditions could cause similar problems. Therefore, Newton Pediatrics conducts a thorough examination and medical history review, then performs one or more tests to confirm or rule out asthma. Tests for asthma include:
Spirometry (lung function testing) measures the quantity of air your child exhales and at what speed. They might take a test while resting, following a period of exercise, or after having asthma medication.
Bronchoprovocation is another lung function test. It uses spirometry to measure how your child’s lungs react to certain irritants, such as exposure to cold air.
Exhaled nitric oxide test
If lung function tests are inconclusive, your pediatrician might measure the level of nitric oxide in a sample of breath. Nitric oxide testing is also useful for determining whether steroid medications could help with your child’s asthma.
Many children have asthma that’s due to allergies. Your provider at Newton Pediatrics can perform a skin prick test to look for any allergic reactions.
How is asthma treated?
Asthma treatment focuses on reducing inflammation in your child’s airways as much as possible. That might require long-term medication. During an asthma attack, your child should use an inhaler that contains substances that calm the airways and help open them up. Children with asthma must be able to access an inhaler at all times.
To find out if your child has asthma and how to manage it, call Newton Pediatrics or book an appointment online today.
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