Pediatric Pulmonary Overview
Pediatric pulmonologists specialize in treating children with signs and symptoms of pulmonary disease, allergies, immune disorders, and cystic fibrosis. These physicians are dedicated to the prevention and treatment of all respiratory disease affecting infants, children, and young adults. They monitor the growth and development of the lungs as well as assessing respiratory functions.
Pediatric Pulmonary Treatments
There are a variety of treatments that our pulmonologists provide. They most commonly treat children with the following conditions: noisy breathing, chronic lung disease, apnea, asthma, chronic cough, difficulty breathing, cystic fibrosis, or recurring pneumonia.
Children are not the same as adults in two different areas. Their bodies are growing and have a different set of medical needs. They also are not able to communicate the same ways as adults. Our physicians are experienced in how to examine, treat, and effectively communicate with children. This allows for the child to relax and communicate their concerns better. In an effort to help our physicians make a proper diagnosis, please keep track of your child’s symptoms and causes of symptoms, if possible. By having a detailed diary, the physician will be able to make a better diagnosis. With a better diagnosis, the physician will be able to begin treatment, and your child will begin to feel better faster.
Apnea in Children
Sleep apnea occurs when a person will stop breathing during sleep. This occurs when there is something that blocks the upper airway. This can make a person’s oxygen levels drop and interrupt sleep. When a child misses out on important sleep, then they will not be able to focus, learn, grow, and live properly. They will also experience growth problems. In children with apnea, your physician may recommend a sleep study to properly diagnose the sleep problem. Treatment is done through removing the tonsils or adenoids. In other cases, the physician may also recommend a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) to be worn when sleeping.
Asthma in Children
Asthma is a chronic disease that will directly affect the airways. Nearly 9 million children in the United States have asthma. Since children have smaller airways than adults, it is much more serious when a child has asthma. Children that have asthma may experience chest tightness, trouble breathing, wheezing, coughing, etc. Their symptoms will be especially bad at night. Our physicians are committed to helping your child to breathe easier and keep their asthma symptoms under control. The two most common types of medications are quick-relief or emergency medications which will help stop symptoms when they are present and the long-term controlled medications will help to prevent symptoms and should be used daily.
Allergies in Children
Allergies are present when there is a problem with the immune system. This occurs when the body responds to an allergen as if it were harmful. The most common allergens in children are food, dust, or pollen. Nearly 2 million children in the United States have been diagnosed with allergies. The first step to treating allergies in children is to administer an allergy test. An allergy test can be administered through a skin test, a patch test, or a blood test. Once a diagnosis has been confirmed, then you will be able to work with your child’s physician to create an allergy action plan for your child. This will involve steps of what to do at each level of an allergic reaction.
Chronic Cough in Children
A chronic cough is seen to be one of the top five reasons that children are taken to the doctor each year. Coughing is a symptom of a variety of different health problems. A cough that is short-lived can be seen as normal. When a cough lasts longer than 4 weeks in children, it is considered chronic. After 4 weeks of a cough, you should take your child to the physician. A chronic cough can be a symptom of the following: allergies, sinusitis, asthma, whooping cough, cystic fibrosis, aspiration, acid reflux, habit cough, or a blockage in the airway. A habit cough is a cough that originally develops because of an irritant in the airway, but then the cough stays around for long after the irritant is gone. You can tell when a cough is a habit because the cough is not around when the child is preoccupied or sleeping.
Pneumonia in Children
Some children are at a higher risk for developing pneumonia than others. If a child has asthma, a chronic illness, was born prematurely, or has a compromised immune system, and then they are at a higher risk for pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs that is caused by fungi, bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Pneumonia usually begins after a cold has been present. The first symptom is typically a sore throat, three days after the cold. Our physicians can make a diagnosis after speaking with you and your child about the symptoms and examining the child. The physician may also require a few tests, which include a chest x-ray, test for viruses via nasal secretion, bacterial cultures, or blood tests. Pneumonia in children is usually treated through oral antibiotics and plenty of bed rest.
Cystic Fibrosis in Children
Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease that is typically characterized by abnormalities in the body’s salt, which is the water and mucus making cells. The thickened mucus that is associated with CF can typically harm the following organs: sweat glands, digestive system, respiratory system, and reproductive system. The physician will typically begin diagnosis with a sweat or chloride test to measure the amount of chloride in the sweat. Treatment will be determined on the age of the child, symptoms, and tolerance for medications.
Why Choose our Physicians for Pediatric Pulmonary?
Our physicians are trained in helping children with lung disease feel better. They are effective communicators and know how to properly diagnose and treat children. Pulmonary Associates of Mobile’s mission is to improve the lives of people with respiratory and immunology conditions. Give us a call today with any questions you have or to schedule your appointment.