Archive for October, 2013

Can Children Outgrow Their Asthma

Many mothers of asthmatic children pose the question, “will my child outgrow asthma?” It’s a difficult question with no easy answer.

I came across an interesting article in the New York Times recently, which suggests that a child could outgrow their asthma. Citing a study of Obstructive Lung Disease in North Sweden the report states that “researchers followed children who had asthma at age 7 to 8 and found that by age 19, 21 percent had experienced no wheezing the previous three years and had reported no need for inhalers. The findings appeared in the journal Pediatrics.”

The study also noted that “asthma symptoms could return, but the asthma would be considered in remission rather cured. Girls were less likely than boys to be asthma-free as teenagers: 14 percent for girls, compared with 26 percent for boys. The reason was not clear though it could relate to hormonal factors during adolescence, said Dr. Martin Andersson, who led the study.”

Another interesting view of this problem is cited by the Mayo Clinic.

On its website it states “in young children it can be difficult to tell whether symptoms such as coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath are caused by asthma or something else. Sometimes what seems to be asthma turns out to be another condition such as bronchitis, recurrent pneumonia or bronchilitis. These conditions typically improve as children get older.”

It further states that, however “persistent wheezing during childhood, having a skin allergy such as atopic dermatitis or having hay fever are clues that your child may have asthma that’s likely to persist into adolescence and adulthood.”

It’s important that you have an asthma treatment plan for your child. If you suspect your child may have asthma, or have questions about your child’s treatment plan, and live in the NYC area, contact my office for a consultation, 212-247-7447. Read more about asthma on my website nycallergydoctor.com

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What You Should Know About Dry Coughs

Even though pollen counts are subsiding, a number of my patients are still experiencing dry coughs.

Dry coughs can continue after allergy, cold, or sinus symptoms have dissipated or occur without other symptoms due to certain factors.

An interesting report on WebMD states, “chronic dry coughs are usually caused by irritation from cigarette smoke, environmental irritants, allergies, postnasal drip, or asthma. Several chronic lung diseases also cause a dry hacking cough. Some people cough out of habit for no clear reason.”

Other common causes for dry coughs, says the website Patient.Co.UK “are occupational exposure to irritants (including farm workers, workers exposed to hot acidic conditions in a bottle factory); COPD; whooping cough–in young adults and may be more common than previously supposed, influenza; heartburn; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); and medications such as an Ace Inhibitor (Lisinopril, Enalarpil, Ramipril, etc.).”

The website goes on to say that a qualified physician is required to evaluate the causes of the cough and look for the following symptoms associated with a dry cough: “systemic signs, e.g. fever, weight loss; upper air-way signs, e.g. hoarseness, nasal speech; focal chest signs; cardiovascular system; and peak expiratory flow rate (how fast the air flows out of a person’s lungs when they exhale hard).”

Have questions about your dry cough? Feel free to contact my office for a consultation at 214-247-7447 or read more about common environmental triggers located on my website under common allergies

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Whooping Cough Epidemic Spreads Over Several States

When I was growing up, several childhood diseases such as polio, measles and mumps, faded into obscurity. Now another childhood disease, whooping cough (pertussis) is unfortunately, making a strong comeback.

Some of my patients have expressed concern about whooping cough and it’s vaccine.

The latest outbreak can be traced to 2010 California, which has presently had the highest number of whooping cough cases in 55 years. It has since spread to a number of other states including South Carolina, New York, Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota.

In an article from the journal “Pediatrics reports that the high number of children who were intentionally unvaccinated also contributed to the rapid spread of the disease”. The reason for this, cites a study in USA Today was that “parents in California can obtain exemptions if all or some immunizations are contrary to their beliefs, whether religious or philosophical.”

As I have told my patients, the anti-whooping cough vaccine is safe for all children and most adults under 65. I urge all of them to get it. Pertussis has never completely gone away and it reappears cyclically every three to five years.

The CDC’s bulletine of vaccine recommendations are as follows: “1) for young children, five doses of the vaccine called DTaP (diptheria, tetanus, pertussis) given at 2, 4, 6, and 15-18 months, and 4-6 years; 2) for those 11 through 18, the CDC recommends one booster dose of Tdap; and 3) adults 19 through 64 should get a dose of Tdap.”

Have more questions on immunology and vaccines and live in the NYC area? Feel free to contact my office for a consultation at 212-247-7447.

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