As spring approaches, so does the onset of allergy season. While allergy symptoms can occur at any time of the year, many find that the spring allergy season brings on the worst of their symptoms. Allergy symptoms can include headaches, runny noses, nasal congestion, sneezing, coughing, and red/watery eyes.
Common medications to treat allergy symptoms include:
* Antihistamines: Taken orally can help with watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing. Some types of antihistamines may cause drowsiness.
* Nasal Corticosteroids –Very effective for control allergy symptoms, especially when symptoms are chronic. They must be used daily for maximal effectiveness.
If your child suffers from allergy symptoms yearly in the spring, start medications before the onset of symptoms for the best control. An easy start date to remember is St. Patrick’s Day annually. Pollen driven allergies tend to begin within a few weeks after, and you may avoid the sudden onset of severe symptoms.
For severe allergy symptoms, finding out what your child is allergic to may help to find the ideal treatment for symptoms. Allergy testing may be indicated for your child at the advice of your pediatric provider. Nasal allergy symptoms can be caused by both indoor (dust mites, pets, insects/pests) and/or outdoor allergens (pollens). Molds may also trigger nasal allergy symptoms, and can be found both indoors and outdoors.
Avoiding allergens that cause symptoms in your child is a key part of treatment. If your child is allergic to a pet in your home, vacuum frequently and keep the animal out of your child’s room. If dust or exposures to insects/pests are a trigger, frequent dusting and vacuuming may help to decrease symptoms.
Dust mites are frequently an allergy trigger. Large amounts of them are found in bedding, upholstered furniture, and rugs. Bedding such as mattresses and pillows should be contained in allergen-proof coverings. Bed linens, including blankets and bed coverings, should be washed every 1 to 2 weeks in hot water. Dusting with dust trapping cloths and frequent vacuuming may also help with symptom control.
For outdoor allergens (pollens), limiting exposure is an important part of symptoms control. During warm weather use air conditioners and keep windows closed if possible. Shower or bathe every evening or after outside exposures. This including washing hair which can trap large amounts of allergens. If grass pollens trigger symptoms, try to stay indoors when grass is being mowed and avoid playing in clippings or areas of very tall grasses.
There are a large number of over the counter and prescription therapies to treat allergy symptoms. . Consult with your provider for further help in determining the best method of controlling your child’s allergies. Enjoy your spring!
Rachna Patel, MD, FAAP April 2019
Often, I see parents coming into the office asking what they can give their child to help stop them from
coughing. Coughing is one of the most common symptoms of childhood illnesses. However not all
coughs are the same and not all are bad.
Coughing is an important defense mechanism that our bodies use to help protect the airway in
the throat and chest. The cough reflex helps to prevent mucus or other foreign material from getting
into our lungs or obstructing the airway.
Sometimes, a cough does need special attention and warrants a visit to the doctors. The sound
of the cough can provide a lot of information about what is going on. Here are some common coughs
with distinct sounds that would require further attention by a doctor.
* Barky cough- this is caused by swelling of the upper airway and often occurs suddenly at night. It
can be associated with stridor which sounds like high pitch breathing. The barky cough is usually
described as sounding like a seal. Croup is the most common cause of this cough
* Whooping cough- also known as pertussis is caused by bacteria. This cough is known as “the
cough of a hundred days”. Children usually have coughing spells that can last up to a minute and
cough literally sounds like a whoop. Prior to developing the cough, there are other symptoms
such as low grade fever, sneezing, a runny nose.
* Wheezing- wheezing associated with cough is caused by inflammation of the airways in the lung.
It can be associated with a whistling sound and retractions of the chest muscles. This type of
cough is associated with asthma exacerbations and bronchiolitis most of the time. Sometimes, it
can be heard in children who have inhaled a small piece of food or foreign object.
Sometimes, it is difficult to determine where your child needs to be seen by a doctor for a
cough. If your child is having trouble breathing , has change color such as a blue, dusky color to the
face, they should be seen by a doctor. Other symptoms along with coughing that would warrant
further evaluation would be high fevers, coughing up blood, weakness, dizziness, and dehydration.
Katherine Abbott, MD February 2019
There is an outbreak of measles across the country, centered in Washington State. The outbreak is in 10 states including California, Colorado, Georgia, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, New York, Texas, and Washington. However, the epicenter is in Washington State, in King County, in the city of Seattle. The most disturbing aspect of this is that the 49 cases diagnosed there to date are in unvaccinated children. This outbreak could have been prevented!
One of the unanticipated outcomes of the effectiveness of the MMR vaccine is that people have forgotten how serious measles can be. Before the MMR vaccine was available, measles caused 2 million deaths annually across the globe. Now it causes 110,000 deaths annually primarily in impoverished areas with limited access to health care.
Measles is highly contagious. It is spread through the air with a cough or a sneeze. This makes it contagious in school settings, the grocery store, and yes, in the waiting rooms of doctor’s offices. Due to this reason, we do not allow people who do not vaccinate against MMR to become patients in our practice. We feel this is our duty, to protect your children, our patients, against the vaccine preventable disease measles.
Measles presents clinically as a high fever, cough, runny nose, headache, light sensitivity and a classic red rash on the neck, face and trunk. The primary complication resulting in death, in 1 out of 500 patients is pneumonia. Please call our office if your child travels to one of these regions and is exhibiting this constellation of clinical symptoms.
Dr. Jennifer Bradford, DO, FAAP May 2019
Now that spring is here and the weather is getting warmer, it's time to get back outside and be active! Daily physical activity is recommended for all children. For all children over the age of 6, 60 minutes per day of moderately vigorous exercise is ideal. For younger children, active play is the current recommendation. So what can we do to be active or to build exercise into our day?
You may need to first look at your family's daily schedule. Everyone's is different. When can you fit exercise in? You may find it easier to have the children play outside after school or enroll them in a sport encouraging them to practice it daily.
Count up how many hours per day your child is using a phone, iPad, computer, or playing video games. Ideally, technology for recreational use should be limited to less than 2 hours per day. You can easily find extra time in the day by decreasing the amount of time on technology and using that time for activities and exercise.
If your child is not currently active, start small. Encourage them to start walking for 15-20 minutes at a time and increase from there. Too much activity too soon increases the risk of injury.
Remember, exercise and daily activity should be fun! Try to find something your child is interested in and will want to participate in daily. They should look forward to it. We want exercise to become lifelong habits!
We at Crestwood Pediatric Associates are concerned about the increasing use by our patients of retail based clinics or urgent care centers. Here are some important things to consider before you go:
Parents are often unsure when a problem arises when our office is closed if it can wait till the office opens in the morning. We have 24/7 on-call physicians that can help you make the decision to go to an urgent care center or ER, or if it can wait till the office opens in the morning.
We understand that children get sick at night and on the weekend. Our office is open until 9 PM most nights and on Saturday morning to give maximum flexibility in scheduling to our patients.
We remain your partner in your child’s care. We want what is best for your child as do you. Please consider the above carefully the next time you consider going to an Urgent Care Center.
Crestwood Pediatric Associates
Jennifer Bradford DO, FAAP January 2019
Flu, or Influenza, is an illness caused by a respiratory virus.
When someone with the flu coughs or sneezes, the virus is spread into the air and the people nearby can inhale it; it can also be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your mouth or rubbing your eyes.
Symptoms of the flu can last a week or more and include:
People who have the flu are usually much sicker than those who have the common cold though sometimes the symptoms can look similar.
Common complications of the flu include ear infections and pneumonia.
Children with chronic health conditions (like asthma, cancer, Crohn’s disease, etc) have the greatest risk of complications from the flu; they are also more likely to be hospitalized.
Tylenol or Motrin can help decrease a child’s fever and help decrease body aches. Make sure your child is old enough to take these medicines first before giving them. Avoid aspirin use in children.
Rest and fluids are very important in treating children with the flu.
Tamiflu is an anti-viral medication that can help decrease the length of time you are sick with the flu by 1.5 days, but it needs to be started within 48 hours of fever onset.
The best way to prevent the flu is to receive the flu vaccine for those 6 months of age and older and to wash your hands frequently!
If children still get the flu even if they have had their flu vaccine, they usually have a much more milder course and recover more quickly!
Make sure you wash your hands!