“Asthma can be very tricky to treat in young children. They have difficulty expressing their symptoms, which can grow severe enough to merit hospitalization,” says Dr. Paola Portela, pediatrician in the Woodridge Clinic.
Asthma (pronounced AZ-ma) is a disease that inflames and narrows the airways of the lungs, making breathing difficult. Although manageable, it can be life-threatening, killing about 255,000 people worldwide every year, according to Medical News Today.
Asthma usually starts in childhood. Many children cough and wheeze when they’re sick with respiratory infections. But when the wheezing recurs frequently, plus the patient has allergies, the skin condition eczema, or parents with asthma, we start treating for asthma.
Although asthma has no cure, it can be successfully managed. Patients need to discover what worsens their asthma, and eliminate these triggers as much as possible. For some people, avoiding pets, carpeting, strong perfumes, and certain detergents help significantly. All asthmatics should avoid second-hand smoke.
Medications, based on the severity of the patient’s asthma, are another part of the management plan. Some asthmatics take medicine daily to maintain their respiratory health, and use a “rescue inhaler” for emergencies.
Patients with mild asthma cases may just need to avoid exposure to their triggers. Others require breathing treatments, and multiple, readily accessible medications to stay well.
Everyone, especially asthmatics, should get an annual flu vaccine. Because the flu is a respiratory illness, it’s particularly harmful for asthmatics.
Portela adds, “Simple routine hand-washing is always advisable, too, to stop the spread of sickness. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to limit germs, and stay home when you’re sick to get well.”
For more information, call the Woodridge Clinic at 630-910-1177, or visit www.woodridgeclinic.com.