We know we still have a few blustery days ahead of us, but spring will be here before you know it. That means pollen, pollen and more pollen – from trees, grasses, flowers and other plants. As your child begins sneezing, wheezing and itching, it’s difficult to know if it’s just straight up allergies, asthma or a combination of the two. Our medical professionals are here to help.
What is an allergy?
Allergy symptoms, such as red eyes, sneezing, itching, swelling, coughing, runny nose and wheezing, happen when your child encounters a substance that causes an immune response. Their immune system misreads this substance as harmful and creates antibodies, which results in the release of histamine. Allergies can be seasonal or year-round depending upon the irritants. They can range from the mildly annoying to the downright deadly, depending upon your child’s body’s unique reaction to the allergen.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition that swells or inflames your child’s airway, reducing the airways and making it difficult to pull air in and out of his lungs. In children, asthma symptoms may improve as their lungs mature, but they may reoccur in adulthood. An asthma “attack” happens when the airways are further constricted by a sudden trigger. Depending upon your child, the trigger could be cold weather, exercise, stress, GERD, smoke, chemicals, food, dust, pollen, dander or an infection such as the flu or a cold.
Those triggers sound familiar – a lot like allergens!
You’re correct! The same things that trigger allergies also trigger asthma symptoms.
So my child can take either allergy medication or asthma medication – no matter what the cause?
No, definitely not. Most medications and therapies are formulated to treat one condition or the other, and your child can be harmed if they take the wrong treatment, especially over-the-counter medications. However, there are some prescription medications that treat both conditions.
How do we figure out which is which?
The only way to determine what’s causing your child’s discomfort is through testing. At The Center for Advanced Pediatrics, we’ll schedule evaluations that take about an hour each. Your child will be tested for a variety of environmental allergens, with a follow up appointment that takes about 30 minutes. For asthma evaluations, we’ll perform spirometry testing alone or treadmill testing with spirometry, depending upon your child’s history of symptoms.
Our medical professionals will discuss the testing results with you and your child and fully answer all your questions.
How will my child’s symptoms be relieved?
Depending upon the amount of irritants and the severity of your child’s allergic reactions, we may prescribe over-the-counter medications, prescription medicines or injectables. For asthma symptoms, we may recommend daily medications in unison with therapies for emergency situations such as inhalers or bronchodilators. We’ll also recommend ways to keep your child’s environment as free of triggers, irritants and allergens as possible.
Make an appointment now to start your child’s allergy and asthma therapy before pollen or other triggers hit the air. Call our office at 203-229-2000 or request an appointment by clicking here today. Getting tested, determining the most effective treatment methods and beginning those methods before triggers run rampant will help your child get ahead of their symptoms and make the entire year more comfortable.