Do You Think Your Child May Have Asthma?
If your child experiences asthma symptoms, please make an appointment with one of our providers for an asthma evaluation.
Child has Severe difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, unable to speak or cry because of difficulty breathing, making grunting noises with each breath).
Child has passed out or has bluish lips/tongue.
Wheezing started suddenly after medicine, an allergic food or bee sting.
Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood, affecting 9.4% of U.S. children. Although asthma can occur in people of any age, most children with asthma begin showing symptoms by age 5. Asthma is a chronic (long-term) illness in which the airways become inflamed or narrowed. While this narrowing is usually temporary, it causes shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and other symptoms. If asthma becomes severe, a child may need emergency treatment to restore normal breathing.
When a child breathes in, air travels from his nose and/or mouth through the trachea (or "windpipe"). From there, it enters a series of smaller tubes in the lung called bronchi and bronchioles. The bronchi and bronchioles are the part of the lung most affected by asthma.
The symptoms of asthma can be triggered by cold air, exercise, allergens (such as dust mites, mold, pollen, animal dander or cockroach debris), and some types of viral infections. When the airways come into contact with one of these triggers, the tissue inside the bronchi and bronchioles becomes inflamed and the muscles on the outside of the airways tighten up. Then mucus is released into the bronchioles, which also become swollen. As the breathing passages continue to narrow, breathing becomes difficult.
Although everyone's airways constrict somewhat in response to these triggers, in a person with asthma, the airways are hyper-reactive (in other words, they overreact to things that would just be minor irritants in people without asthma). In mild cases of asthma, the symptoms may subside on their own, but most children
with asthma need medication to control or prevent the episodes. The need for medication is based on how often asthma attacks occur and how severe they are. With the treatments available today, most children with asthma can do almost everything that children without the disease can do.
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What Are the Symptoms of Asthma?
Wheezing: high-pitched, whistling sound while breathing
Chronic cough: especially at night and after exercise or exposure to cold air
Shortness of breath: especially during exercise (All children get out of breath when they're running and jumping, but most resume normal breathing very quickly afterward.)
Tightness in the chest: if you notice any of the above symptoms, ask your child whether he or she feels
a tight, uncomfortable feeling in the chest.
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Asthma Care at Advanced Pediatrics
The providers at Advanced Pediatrics are committed to providing the most advanced care available for children with asthma. As such, our clinical committee regularly reviews the latest advancements in asthma care and evaluates whether to incorporate them into the clinical guideline our providers use in treating asthma patients. In addition, our providers and staff attend in-service meetings with community allergy and asthma specialists and The Children's Hospital Pulmonary Department to review new guidelines from National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as recommendations for improving patient training on asthma medications.
The goals of our asthma program are to help patients to:
- Maintain normal lung function and activity levels
- Prevent chronic symptoms
- Use medication appropriately, minimizing use of "rescue" medications
- Recognize and develop strategies to avoid triggers
- Reduce acute attacks which require sick visits, trips to the emergency room, and hospitalizations
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Advanced Pediatrics participates in the Colorado Pediatric Partners Asthma Registry, which is designed to track, monitor, and improve the health of asthma patients. Patients in the data base are classified as having intermittent or persistent asthma. The asthma registry is part of a quality improvement project which provides for improved patient/parent education, with handouts and treatment plans available for download. In addition, data from the asthma registry is inputted into our EMR, so that it may be sorted and analyzed to identify trends and opportunities for improvement in patient care. The benefits of the quality improvement project help lead to optimal treatment plans and better parent/patient education, as well as help asthma patients and providers better reach the goals of maintaining activity and maximal pulmonary function, with a reduction in acute visits and trips to the emergency department.
If you have a child that has been diagnosed with asthma or wheezing, ask your provider whether your child has been included in the registry. If your child has not had an asthma visit in the last six months, please call our Patient Care Line to schedule one as soon as possible.
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Appointments and Prescription Refills
When your child is diagnosed with asthma, the development of an asthma action plan, regular follow-up appointments and ongoing management of medications are important aspects of care. At Advanced Pediatrics we have specific guidelines we follow to ensure your child gets the proper care.
- We will want to see your child every six months for asthma maintenance visits. One of these visits can be your child's annual well-care exam if the asthma is well-controlled. If your child is under the care of a specialist for his or her asthma, the six month maintenance visit is not required, but please have the specialist send regular reports to our office.
- Please download, print and complete the appropriate Asthma Registry Form (under parent handouts below) prior to every asthma visit, and bring it to your visit.
- When prescribed medications are not managing your child's symptoms, please call our nurse advice line to discuss your child's symptoms and the need for an appointment for further evaluation. Our nurse advice number is 303-699-6200, Option 2.
- Refill requests for your child's medications may be made online or called in to our central prescription refill line at 720-870-0244. Your medication refill request will be filled based on your child's last maintenance and well-care visit. If your child is due for a well-care or maintenance visit, you will be asked to schedule that appointment.
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American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child's Allergies and Asthma: Breathing Easy and Bringing Up Healthy, Active Children. The American Academy of Pediatrics, Michael J. Welsh, MD, FAAP, Editor in Chief, Villard Books, 2000 (To order call: 1-888-227-1770)
One Minute Asthma: What You Need to Know, 7th ed. Thomas Plaut, 2005
Asthma and Allergy Action Plan for Kids: A Complete Program to Help Your Child Live a Full and Active Life. Kate Kelly and Allen Dozor, Fireside, 2004
The Complete Kid's Allergy & Asthma Guide: The Parent's Handbook for All Ages. Milton Gold, Robert Rose, Inc, 2003
Positive Options for Children with Asthma: Everything Parents Need to Know. O.P. Jaggi, Hunter House, 2005
Allergies and Asthma: What Every Parent Needs to Know. American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011.
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