Asthma is a common childhood problem seen by our pediatricians at AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, VA; in fact, it's the most common chronic illness diagnosed in children, with about 7 million children affected here in the United States. Dr. Oscar Sugastti and Dr. Griselda Meza see many young patients with asthma and want their parents to understand the causes and treatments for the disorder by explaining them here.
What is asthma?
Asthma affects the air passages inside the lungs. When a child with asthma increases their activity or inhales certain allergens, such as pet dander or mold spores, the airways react by constricting and producing mucus. This reaction makes breathing difficult. Asthma "attacks," as they're known, can range from mild to severe, depending on the degree of the body's reaction.
How do I know if my child has asthma?
Your Woodbridge pediatrician may suspect asthma as a possible diagnosis if your child regularly displays the following signs and symptoms:
- Coughing spells, especially during activity or at night
- Diminished energy
- Complaints of chest heaviness or tightness
- Heavy breathing with retractions, or noticeable up-and-down movements in the chest
- Wheezing during breathing (which may be rapid at times)
Most kids that are diagnosed with asthma begin displaying symptoms by the time they're five years old.
How is asthma treated?
Your Woodbridge pediatrician will first determine if your child's asthma is caused by allergies or exercise. This will help to devise a treatment plan that will work best for your child. Avoiding allergens can be extremely effective in controlling asthma symptoms. Many asthma patients respond well to nebulizers or inhalers, which deliver anti-inflammatory medications to the lungs by breathing them in.
If you think your child may have asthma, contact AAA Pediatrics in Woodbridge, VA right away for an evaluation from one of our physicians, Dr. Sugastti or Dr. Meza. We want to help you and your child live an active, healthy life!