Controlling Your Child’s Asthma: Advice from a Pediatric Pulmonologist

As many of you know, Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases that affect children with in US.  Deaths from asthma have become rarer, though they still do occur.  However, the biggest impact on public health from asthma comes from how it affects a child’s quality-of-life. 

Many asthma experts in and around Duval county have been teaching that asthma is the #1 reason that kids miss school.  That really hurts.  Not only does that mean kids are at home coughing and wheezing, it also means that they are falling behind in their learning, missing out on socialization, missing out in after-school healthy activities like sports and band.  And it often means that parents have to take off work. 

How can this be avoided?  First, the diagnosis needs to be made.  The signs of asthma are chest tightness or coughing, or a whistling sound in the chest.  These symptoms are often triggered by exercise, cold viruses, sleep, allergies and emotions (laughing or crying).  If your child gets recurrent pneumonias, frequent bouts of bronchitis, or breathing symptoms related to allergies, weather changes or exercise, then you need to think about asthma.  Once the diagnosis has been made, you need to have a “medical home” for your asthma!  This is so important.  I will say it again:  You need to have a “medical home” – a specific place and a specific doctor that is in charge of helping you manage your or your child’s asthma.  You need to have an asthma action plan, and you need to have regular appointments to review the progress of your asthma control.  Just because your asthma has been good recently doesn’t mean it will stay that way.  If it comes back, you need to know what to do.

 That seems so simple, but we see children every day with asthma flare-ups because some link in this chain of early diagnosis-medical home-asthma action plan has been broken. 

 Dr. Jason Lang

Pediatric Pulmonologist

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