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What to Do if You Suspect Your Child Has Asthma

What to Do if You Suspect Your Child Has Asthma

About 6 million kids in the United States have asthma, according to the CDC, which puts them at risk for serious complications, like more severe respiratory illness or breathing problems. Fortunately, there are plenty of options today for managing asthma in kids. The key is knowing what symptoms to look for and what to do if your child has those symptoms.

At Fayrouz PediatricsHisham Gadalla, MD offers comprehensive, personalized asthma treatment, helping kids at his Clifton, New Jersey practice manage their symptoms and enjoy healthier lives. If you suspect your child has asthma, here’s what you need to know.

The basics of asthma

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes irritation and inflammation inside the airways. Researchers aren’t completely sure why asthma happens, but they believe it’s probably a combination of genetic factors and environmental exposures (like exposures to smoke, chemicals, or other pollutants). In kids, those exposures may occur at a very young age, while the lungs are still developing.

While there’s no cure for asthma, it can be managed with a personalized treatment plan that evolves as your child’s needs change. It’s important for parents to know what signs and symptoms to look for, so they can seek a diagnosis as early as possible. 

Symptoms

When it comes to asthma symptoms, a lot of people think of wheezing (“whistling” noises in the lungs during breathing). There’s a common misconception that in order to be diagnosed with asthma, wheezing must be present. 

In fact, even though wheezing is common in people with asthma, you absolutely can have asthma without wheezing — even without significant coughing. This is a condition called “silent asthma,” and as a parent, it can be harder to identify. Knowing the other symptoms of asthma can help. These include:

Asthma symptoms are often triggered by outside factors, like allergens, temperature changes, and even physical exercise

Getting the right treatment for your child

Asthma can make it hard for your child to participate in a lot of activities. Playing sports is much harder when your breathing is impaired, and even playing on a playground or at a park with their friends can be a challenge. 

If you suspect your child has asthma, it’s extremely important to have them evaluated so they can begin treatment. Some asthma flare-ups can be dangerous — even life-threatening. The sooner you have an asthma management plan in place, the better it will be for your child.

Treating asthma

To diagnose asthma, our team listens to your child’s lungs, reviews their symptoms and medical history, and often orders breathing tests to measure how well their lungs are working. Some tests are repeated after administering a dose of asthma medicine to see if the medicine improves airway function.

After diagnosis, our team will work with you and your child to develop a personalized asthma management plan to help reduce symptoms and keep them under control. Most plans involve lifestyle changes, trigger avoidance, and medication. Your child’s plan can (and should) be shared with your child’s teacher and school nurse, so they can treat your child if they have a flare-up at school.

Because asthma is a chronic disease, your child will benefit from regular office visits to make sure their treatment plan stays on track with their needs and symptoms as they grow and develop. It’s also important to call the office if your child develops a cold or other respiratory illness that causes their asthma symptoms to worsen.

Help your child breathe better

Asthma won’t go away on its own, but with a treatment plan in place, your child can enjoy an active, healthy life. To learn more about asthma treatment at Fayrouz Pediatrics, call 973-834-5539 or book an appointment online with Dr. Gadalla and his team today.

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