Monday, May 23, 2016

Pediatric Asthma Q&A with Erik Hinderlie, Pediatric Asthma Coordinator

What are triggers of asthma?
Asthma triggers vary from person to person and cause airways in the lungs to become more inflamed and swollen. Common triggers are pollen, dust mites, pet dander and saliva, indoor and outdoor molds, viral illnesses, tobacco and other smoke, and exercise.  Strong odors such as harsh cleansers like bleach, perfumes, scented products and air fresheners, other substances known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) can also induce symptoms.


How can I control asthma triggers in my home?
It is important to know what your asthma triggers are and limit your child’s exposure to them. Generally, a holistic approach to a healthy home will assist with control of your asthma, including regular dusting and/or vacuuming with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) equipped filter to control dust mites.  Keeping your home dry and ventilated will help decrease indoor air pollution and reduce likelihood of mold and dust growth.  Tracing and fixing leaks when they occur will also help with mold and pest control.


How can I better remember to give my child their controller medication?
Incorporating medication use into daily routines is a strategy to remind your child of their medication needs. For example, leave asthma medications near your child’s toothbrush (if, indeed, he or she is brushing twice a day!).  Also, having an alarm reminder on your Smartphone or other device—can call attention to take medications.


What should I remember when using a spacer with the inhaler?
A spacer is used for making sure you are receiving the full dose of the asthma medication. An inhaler is a high pressure device that delivers the medication.  So when you think about it, using your inhaler without a spacer is essentially like not taking the medication at all.  

Not using the spacer device with the inhaler increases the likelihood of developing thrush, or sores in the mouth, from certain corticosteroid-based inhalers. Although spacers minimize the risk of thrush, it is still important to rinse out your mouth after use to ensure you will not get thrush.


What is the spirometry machine my child breaths into at the clinic? What is it measuring?

Spirometry is a diagnostic tool where a patient blows into a machine as fast and as hard as possible. It can help determine various lung ailments (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema), but is useful in checking the lung function of asthmatics.  In using the spirometry test results, clinicians are looking to see if there is airway obstruction or limited peak flows.

A concave line on this report usually indicates airway obstruction; the characteristic inflammation of the airways (i.e. asthma).

Your child will be asked to take a deep breath in and blow out quickly for up to 6 seconds, and this will give us a better idea on how their lungs are functioning!  This will be repeated at least 3 times to allow for the best diagnosis.

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