Young patients in ElginIL area managing asthma by modifying environment and with medicine
Asthma is more common in children than juvenile diabetes or hay fever. The Centers for Disease Control reports 7 million of the more than 18 million Americans with asthma are under age 18. Of those children with asthma, four million suffered an asthma attack or episode in 2011, according to the CDC.
The high incidence of asthma attacks among young patients underscores the importance of managing this chronic, inflammatory illness.
To manage your child’s symptoms, the Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois must first identify those triggers that irritate the airways and cause asthma flare-ups.
Common triggers include:
- Allergies account for 60 percent of all asthma cases. Microscopic dust mites, animal dander, pollens, grasses, molds, medications, foods, and cockroaches represent some of the allergens to be avoided.
- Infections caused by common viruses such as cold or flu
- Environmental pollutants, such as smoke, aerosol sprays, perfumes and paint fumes
- Physical activity, also known as exercise induced asthma
- Breathing in cold air
- Weather-related changes
After Drs. Noga Askenazi, and Eugenia Hahn help identify your child’s triggers, steps can be taken to manage asthma symptoms and minimize the frequency of attacks. Environmental control measures may include:
- Reducing moisture in the air with devices like dehumidifiers. Moisture promotes allergens such as dust mites. A hygrometer can be found at hardware stores and it gauges the level of humidity in the air, which should remain below 50 percent.
- Cleaning indoor air. Vacuum and dust at least once a week to remove allergens. Remember to wash your child’s stuffed toys at least that often.
- Enlist a professional to give your air conditioner a health check-up. Properly functioning air conditioners remove moisture and reduce pollen from surrounding trees and grasses.
- Use pillows and blankets with manmade fibers for filling. Replace or avoid upholstery and carpets in your child’s bedroom or play areas. Be aware that plants, books, and other household objects can attract dust.
- Don’t smoke inside where it can be trapped in carpet, upholstery and other materials. Don’t burn wood fires. Avoid strong smells from paints, glues, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, hair sprays, and perfumes.
- If cold is an issue, face masks can help. Take care to limit a child’s outdoor playtime or chores when mold and pollen counts are high.
Of course, some irritants and allergens can’t be avoided. Even those avoidable causes may not be avoided all the time. You don’t want symptoms to control your child’s life. Drs. Askenazi, and Hahn can prescribe medications based on the cause of your child’s asthma:
- Immunotherapy for allergic-asthma exposes your child to very small amounts of the suspect allergen. Administered as shots or extracts given by mouth, the idea is to retrain the immune system so it better tolerates the offending substance.
- Quick-relief, rescue or fast-acting medications like inhaled bronchodilators (ProAir HFA, Maxair Autohaler) and Ipratroprium (Atroven) relax the muscles around the airways to open up these breathing passages quickly. Provides short-term relief during asthma attacks, but does not treat underlying inflammation.
- Long-term control medicines are slower acting and take days or weeks to ease asthmatic inflammation. Inhaled corticosteroids (Flovent HFA, Qvar), leukotriene modifiers (Singulair, Zylfo), and combination inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta agonist (Symbicort, Advair HFA) are among these preventive drugs.
Many children with persistent asthma may need long-term control drugs and quick-relief options such as a hand-held inhaler. Call our office; we are your local answer to managing asthma in young patients in Elgin, at 847 888 8802.