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As two of the most common chronic conditions of childhood, asthma and allergies often go hand in hand. For kids who have both, coming in contact with an allergen is usually all it takes to trigger an asthma attack. At Baldwin Pediatrics in Panama City, Florida, board-certified pediatrician Rubina Azam, MD, FAAP, ABIHM, provides comprehensive care for children with asthma, allergies, or both. Call her Bay County area office today or click on the online tool to schedule your child's visit with Dr. Azam online at any time.
Asthma is a chronic disease that causes the airways in your child’s lungs to swell and fill with mucus, making it difficult to breathe. It also causes the muscles around their airways to tighten, restricting their respiration even more. Symptoms of an asthma flare-up include:
Children account for almost half of the 20 million people in the United States who have asthma. Because children have smaller airways than adults, their asthma symptoms are often worse.
An asthma attack, or flare-up, occurs when an external irritant enters your child’s airway and triggers a response. Common asthma triggers include:
Very cold air or sudden changes in weather can also trigger an asthma attack.
Allergies occur when your child’s immune system overreacts to a normally harmless substance like pollen, dust, or animal dander, prompting the release of antibodies, histamines, and other defensive chemicals.
Allergies may be present from birth, or they may emerge for the first time during childhood or adolescence (or even later on in adulthood). While kids sometimes outgrow certain allergies, most allergies are chronic, meaning they persist for life.
Any substance that triggers an allergic reaction in your child’s respiratory tract, digestive tract, or skin is considered to be an allergen. The most common allergens are:
As the name implies, airborne allergens are carried through the air and enter your child’s body through their respiratory tract. Pollen, mold, dust mites, pet dander, and cockroach debris are common airborne allergens.
Although food allergies are often severe or even life-threatening, mild food allergies may also disappear with age. Common food allergens include peanuts and tree nuts, cow’s milk, eggs, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.
Insect venom from a bee, hornet, wasp, or yellow jacket sting is a relatively common allergen; other common allergens include medication, latex, cosmetic dyes and fragrances, household cleaners, and pesticides.
The first step in effective asthma and allergy management is knowing what triggers your child’s symptoms — avoiding known allergens and asthma triggers can go a long way in keeping their condition under control.
If your child has asthma, Dr. Azam may prescribe a control medication to reduce the incidence of asthma attacks, as well as a quick-relief medication (inhalers) to curtail symptoms when they arise. If your child has allergies, they may benefit from medication or immunotherapy, a long-term treatment approach that trains their immune system not to overreact to allergens.
To get your child’s asthma or allergies under control, call Baldwin Pediatrics or click online to schedule a visit with Dr. Azam today.