While many of us are all enjoying the sights and smells of blooming trees and flowers this spring, for others, it’s not all coming up roses. Along with allergies, the pollen season each spring can trigger asthma. Dr. Kira Geraci-Ciardullo, allergist and immunologist with White Plains Hospital Medical & Wellness in Armonk, shared some identifying signs of childhood asthma, and guidance on managing common symptoms.
Because asthma can present in a number of ways, it may be initially hard to diagnose. It is generally an inherited condition of the airway triggered by many things, including plant pollen that is abundant in spring and fall. With children, a chronic cough, ongoing lethargy or difficulty sleeping, reluctance to play certain vigorous sports or avoiding activity altogether may be indications that something is not right.
“In some cases, there is a very obvious trigger for your child, and a response within minutes or hours after exposure with coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or difficulty breathing,” said Geraci. An inhaler, which opens up the lung airways, can provide fast relief.
For others, the trigger is not so obvious. “With multiple triggers from cold air to infection to pollen to the family dog, the airway can remain chronically inflamed,” said Geraci. "Daily medication is often required in this case, as well as careful management of exposure to triggers.”
The first two weeks of May are usually when the highest amounts of pollen are detected in this part of the country, and therefore, when asthma’s worst symptoms present themselves. “If pollen triggers asthma, daily medication during the season is likely necessary,” said Geraci. “Plan to limit outdoor activities at the height of the season, and speak to a doctor about an asthma management plan that includes allergy shots or immunization, both of which can provide great relief.”
To make an appointment at White Plains Hospital Medical & Wellness in Armonk, call (914) 849-7900 or visit wphpa.org.