Asthma Care | Midlothian, VA

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic condition of the airway that can make breathing difficult. During an asthma flare-up, the air passages become inflamed resulting in temporary narrowing of the bronchioles, or small air branches that extend from the bronchus. Untreated severe asthma can cause scarring of the lungs and permanently damage lung tissue. At Swift Creek Pediatrics, we are here to help any child who is suffering with breathing problems. Our team of dedicated pediatricians works with you to provide a tailored treatment plan for your child to manage the asthma, preventing or reducing severe events.

Asthma Triggers

If your child has been diagnosed with asthma, then you will quickly learn which triggers may induce an asthma attack or event. People with asthma have very sensitive airways, which can potentially react to many different environmental exposures. Contact with these triggers causes asthma symptoms to start or worsen. The following are common triggers for asthma:

  • Upper respiratory infections, such as sinusitis, colds and flu.
  • Allergens, such as pollens, mold spores, pet dander and dust mites.
  • Irritants, such as strong odors from perfumes or cleaning solutions and air pollution.
  • Cigarette or vaping smoke.
  • Exercise, known as exercise-induced asthma.
  • Weather, changes in temperature and/or humidity; cold air.
  • Intense crying.
  • Medications, such as aspirin-sensitive asthma.

Symptoms of Asthma

Asthma symptoms may vary from episode to episode in the same child. As a parent, you will become an expert at being able to detect the signs and symptoms of asthma in your child. Swift Creek Pediatrics offers some general signs and symptoms of asthma, including:

  • Frequent coughing spells, which may occur during play, at nighttime or while laughing. It’s important to know that with asthma, coughing may be the only symptom. This is referred to as cough-variant asthma.
  • Less energy during play or pausing to catch breath during play.
  • Rapid or shallow breathing.
  • Complaint of chest tightness or chest “hurting”.
  • Whistling sound when breathing in or out, known as wheezing.
  • Using intercostal muscles to breathe, so skin retracts in between ribs and around collar bone.
  • Shortness or loss of breath.
  • Tightened neck and chest muscles.
  • Feelings of weakness or tiredness.

Treatment for Asthma

Anti-inflammatory drugs, particularly inhaled steroids, are an essential treatment for most children with asthma. These anti-inflammatory medications reduce or prevent asthma attacks and work by decreasing swelling and mucus production in the airways. As a result, the airways are less sensitive and less likely to react to asthma triggers and cause asthma symptoms. These inhaled steroid medications are also known as “maintenance medications” for children with asthma and are taken everyday as a preventative.

Bronchodilators are fast-acting medications that are used during an asthma attack to relax the muscles that can tighten around the airways. This medication, known as “rescue inhalers,” is not intended for daily use. Bronchodilators are short-acting, and quickly relieve coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.

Long-acting bronchodilators are sometimes prescribed in combination with inhaled steroids for control of asthma symptoms or when someone has ongoing asthma symptoms despite treatment with a daily inhaled steroid. Long-acting bronchodilators are never used alone as long-term therapy for asthma.

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