Asthma is one of the most common childhood diseases in the US with over 7 million children affected. Establishing the diagnosis involves a careful process of history taking, physical exam and diagnostic studies. Infants and younger children require a more comprehensive evaluation because there are many causes of wheezing and these patient typically cannot perform some of the diagnostic testing like most children older than 8yrs of age. There are 3 main components of asthma:
1. Airway Inflammation - Chronic airway inflammation is a staple component of Asthma. This is treated by a daily inhaled steroid like Budesonide, Flovent, or Pulmicort.
2. Reversible Airflow Obstruction - This is a hallmark of asthma and occurs when there is restricted airflow. A spirometry test is the preferred method to determine a diagnose and is treatable with short acting bronchodilators, for example, Albuterol, Proventyl, or Proair. These medications are used for "rescue" and only as needed.
3. Airway hyperresponsiveness is the final component and is defined as how much the airways narrow when exposed to cold air, histamines, exercise, common colds, allergies or other triggers.
Springtime and Fall are often the most common times of the year due to seasonal allergies and Winter if the child has a trigger of cold air or illness. Close and regularly scheduled follow up visits manage the condition and help prevent common complications of asthma such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Please call the office if you believe your child may have asthma or has been diagnosed and has not been seen by a physician within the last six months. Additional videos are available below to help understand how to use some common asthma treating devices.
Below is a list of links to asthma medication administration videos for provider, nurse and patient use:
How to Use a Nebulizer
How to Use an Inhaler with Spacer and Mask
How to Use an Inhaler with Spacer
How to Use a Dry Powdered Inhaler
How to Use a Twisthaler
Cómo usar un inhalador de dosis fija con espaciador: