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Kid's Health (Archive)
Our award-winning Kid's Health Magazine is designed to provide healthful information for your growing child. Please Note: Kid's Health Magazine is no longer being printed. Please visit our blog at http://www.choc.org/blog for the latest articles about your child's health from the experts at CHOC Children's. You can also receive our electronic Kid's Health newsletter in your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list: http://www.choc.org/subscribe

Achoo! Kids, Allergies and Asthma
About 40 percent of people who have allergies also have asthma, a chronic disease that affects the airways. It usually develops during childhood and affects about 9 million kids. Fortunately, asthma can be easily controlled and managed—even during spring

It's spring and a lot more than love is in the air. Tree and grass pollen are making the rounds. So if your child seems especially sniffly and sneezy lately, springtime allergies might be to blame. For kids who suffer from asthma, allergies can make life uncomfortable. Learning to distinguish between a cold and allergies, and recognizing the signs of an asthma flare-up can help your child breathe easy this season.

Cold or allergies?
Here in Orange County, the main causes of spring allergies are tree and grass pollen. Trees can start blooming as early as February, which can make it hard to distinguish between allergies and a latewinter cold, says Stanley Galant, M.D., a pediatric allergist at CHOC. “With a cold, you see more of stuffy nose with aches and sometimes a fever,” he explains. “With allergies, you see more sneezing, itchy eyes, and an itchy or runny nose.”

If your child is allergic to outdoor triggers like pollen, symptoms usually come on very suddenly, after playing outside in freshly cut grass, for example.

“We don’t just want to help kids who come to the emergency room,” says Dr. Galant. “We want to make sure they never even get here.”

The allergies/asthma link
About 40 percent of people who have allergies also have asthma, says Dr. Galant. Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways. It usually develops during childhood and affects about 9 million kids. Symptoms include:

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath during exercise
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest tightness

In allergic asthma (the most common kind in children), allergens like house dust mites, pet dander or pollen irritate the airways and trigger asthma symptoms. Left untreated, allergic asthma can lead to a life-threatening emergency.
 

Have a plan
Fortunately, asthma can be easily controlled and managed—even during spring allergy season. CHOC is a leader in early detection and treatment of pediatric asthma, providing families the education they need to prevent asthma emergencies. “We don’t just want to help kids who come to the emergency room,” says Dr. Galant. “We want to make sure they never even get here.”

Dr. Galant recommends talking to your child’s health care provider about a customized asthma action plan. This written plan will help you and your child manage symptoms and prevent a flareup. Make sure your child’s teachers and babysitters have copies of the action plan and understand what to do in an emergency. “If medication isn’t helping and your child is struggling for breath or turning blue, call 911,” Dr. Galant says.

Breathe Easier
The CHOC Breathmobile staff is committed to making sure that children get the asthma care they need. The CHOC Breathmobile is a fully equipped mobile asthma-treatment van serving children throughout Orange County. Staffed by bilingual doctors and nurses, the van makes monthly visits to schools, community clinics and community centers to provide asthma testing, treatment and education. For more information, call 714-532-7571.

CHOC CHILDREN'S PUBLICATIONS
PHYSICIAN CONNECTION ENEWSLETTER
KIDS HEALTH MAGAZINE
ANNUAL REPORT
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