Asthma Q & A
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways that causes persistent inflammation in the bronchial tubes. When something triggers asthma symptoms, the airways narrow, swell, and produce excessive mucus, which restricts that airflow in and out of the lungs. The severity of asthmatic symptoms can greatly vary from person to person.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Some of the symptoms that your child might experience during an asthma attack include:
- difficulty breathing
- shortness of breath
- chest tightness
- trouble sleeping
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms at any severity, you should book a consultation with Dr. Okoh to discuss treatment options.
Can my child’s allergies affect their asthma?
Depending on the person, a number of factors — including a respiratory infection (like the common cold), physical activity (exercise-induced asthma), cold air, strong emotions, and certain medications like beta blockers or aspirin — can trigger an asthma attack.
The most common form of asthma, however, is allergic asthma, or allergy-induced asthma. This is asthma that’s triggered when your child inhales certain allergens, eats certain foods that they’re allergic to, or when their skin comes into contact with an allergen.
Allergens are harmless substances such as pollen, mold, pet dander, or dust mites, that certain people’s immune systems mistakenly identify as harmful. When this happens, the immune system tries to protect the body by triggering it to release antibodies that bind to the allergen. The release of those antibodies produces allergy symptoms, like a runny nose or itchy eyes. For some people, this process can also induce an asthma attack.
What treatments address asthma?
There is no cure for asthma, but Dr. Okoh can prescribe a number of treatment options that can significantly reduce and stave off future asthma attacks, greatly improving your child’s quality of life.
Allergy-induced asthma, in particular, can be treated with:
- immunotherapy, or allergy shots
- a leukotriene modifier (a daily pill that helps to control your child’s immune system)
- anti-immunoglobulin therapy (medication that keeps your immune system from negatively responding to allergens)
The effects, severity, and triggers for asthma can change over time, so it’s important to have Dr. Okoh regularly track your child’s symptoms and update their treatment when needed.