Asthma and allergy

Northwest Pediatrics is dedicated to serving our patients affected by asthma. Asthma affects approximately 1 in 10 children under the age of 18 in the United States, making it one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood. More than half (59%) of children with asthma miss days from school due to their illness. Although asthma can’t be cured, it can be controlled. Our asthma program’s goal is to partner with you to help your child live to their healthiest potential.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the airways in the lungs. When a person is experiencing an acute asthma flare, the lining of their airways become swollen and inflamed. These inflamed airways produce more mucous, and the muscles around the airways tighten. This results in narrowed airways which makes it harder to breathe. Many children who suffer from asthma experience frequent symptoms:

Many children who suffer from asthma experience frequent symptoms:

  • frequent coughing(at night or early morning, or with exercise or with some viral infections)
  • wheezing: a high-pitched whistling sound heard when breathing in or out(not all people with asthma wheeze)
  • chest tightness -fatigue and feeling out of breath
  • difficulty breathing or not wanting to participate in their normal activities

Some children have more serious symptoms:

  • excessive coughing that is difficult to stop with treatment with a fast acting inhaler
  • flared nostrils
  • difficulty speaking in short sentences while trying to breathe
  • notch above your child’s collar bone or the area between their ribs is sunken in when breathing
  • blue/gray fingernails (call 911)

People with asthma also have airways that are very sensitive to things that don’t bother other people. Some of these things, called “triggers”, can cause asthma symptoms to flare and include:

  • weather changes
  • allergies
  • exercise smoke(cigarette smoke, wood smoke) or air pollution
  • strong odors/smells
  • viral infections or colds
  • sinusitis

Meet our asthma nurse specialist:

To help meet the needs of our patients with asthma, Northwest Pediatrics employs a full time asthma and allergy nurse specialist, Rebecca Hulstein. Rebecca helps with both the diagnostic evaluation of and the monitoring of patients with asthma. Her duties include the following: -spirometry(lung function) testing -instruction on use of home asthma monitoring devices and medication -educating families on asthma triggers and allergen reduction -designing patient specific Asthma Care Plans -ensuring all asthma patients receive periodic asthma monitoring and check-ups In addition to this, Rebecca gives allergy injections for patients receiving allergy immunotherapy(as directed by their allergist). Injections are done on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

If you have any questions, please contact your provider or Rebecca at 360-736-6778