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More than 6 million American children have asthma, a breathing disease that can disrupt their daily lives if untreated. At Advanced Pediatrics, the leading local pediatric care specialists offer diagnosis and treatment to help children breathe easy and enjoy active childhoods. Call the Vienna, Virginia, office to set up your child’s appointment today. 

Asthma Q & A

What is asthma?

Asthma causes narrowing and swelling of the airways in the lungs, leading to difficulty breathing. It affects more than 6 million kids today, occurring in about 8% of boys and 5% of girls. 

While asthma is a controllable disease, about half of children don’t get the pediatric care they need and consequently have uncontrolled asthma. The disease can be serious if untreated, but the proper care can help your child live a healthy, happy, and active life.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

Children with asthma typically have symptom-free periods. But, certain triggers such as pet dander, viral infections, dust, smoke, and weather changes can bring on asthma attacks — periods of significant breathing problems. Symptoms of asthma attacks can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Coughing
  • Chest tightness
  • Chest pain
  • Growing easily fatigued
  • Restless sleep

Every child is unique, so your child may have other asthma attack triggers as well. 

How is asthma diagnosed?

Advanced Pediatrics offers asthma diagnosis in the office. For children 5 and older, the most common diagnostic test is spirometry, which measures the amount of air your child can exhale and the rate at which they do so. Your child could also need an exhaled nitric oxide test that checks how much nitric oxide is in their breath.

In children under 5 years old, there aren’t any diagnostic tests but pediatricians can evaluate your child based on reported symptoms.  

How is asthma treated?

Children need an asthma action plan, a detailed written plan that helps you and your child respond to asthma and minimize its effects. An asthma action plan divides symptoms into green, yellow, and red zones and gives you detailed directions to follow for each. Everyone who cares for your child needs a copy of the asthma action plan. 

Most children have two inhalers (medications they breathe in), one for daily asthma control and the other for asthma attacks. Younger children may need a nebulizer, a machine with an attached mask that dispenses medication in a mist. 

Some children may need other asthma interventions, such as oral medication or injections. Advanced Pediatrics determines your child’s individual needs and works with you to create an asthma action plan that helps them stay active and healthy. 

If your child is struggling with breathing, coughing, or wheezing, schedule their asthma evaluation at Advanced Pediatrics by calling the office.