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Respiratory Illness in Children- Advice from an Allergy Doctor

Child Asthma Doctor by Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates Phoenix AZOne of our specialty is working with children.  Sadly, our Phoenix area allergy doctors see respiratory illnesses quite often since they are very common for children, especially those who are younger than five! Believe it or not, most children develop between three and eight colds or other kinds of illness of the respiratory system each year!

As you might expect, this number is even higher among kids who go to daycare, as germs and viruses can migrate between kids pretty easily. Tobacco smoke has also been linked to respiratory illnesses as well.

Luckily, most of these illnesses are not serious and will go away on their own. There are some, however, that can have a lasting effect. If you suspect your child has asthma or pneumonia, you will need an evaluation and care plan from a specialized physician such as an allergist within the phoenix area.

You can use the items in this guide to show you which of the respiratory illnesses are caused by an infection as well as how many are non-respiratory conditions. This will let you know when exactly your child needs to go to the hospital.

How does the respiratory system work?

There are two parts to the respiratory system: the upper and the lower. As far as the upper goes, this will include the mouth, sinuses, nose, and throat. This is what is traditionally known as a head cold, and the conditions involved are:

  • The Flu
  • Sinusitis
  • Common Cold
  • Croup

For the lower respiratory system, that is basically the lungs and bronchial tubes of a person. Children under five will tend to experience much more severe symptoms that may require immediate medical attention.

Some symptoms of this type of illness include rapid breathing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. If your child experiences any of these symptoms, especially if they’re under five, you should get them to a doctor immediately.

The common conditions here are:

  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiolitis
  • RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus

Common Cold

This one is probably the most pervasive on this list, as it can be caused by upwards of 200 different viruses which are all capable of traveling from one person to another fairly easily.

You might wonder why the common cold has yet to be eradicated, but we will tell you it’s because of the fact that there are so many different viruses that can cause it.

Many already have a good idea of what the symptoms are, but let’s lay them out just in case:

  • Runny nose
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Sore Throat
  • Sneezing
  • A low fever for the first couple of days
  • Mild to moderate hacking cough

The Flu

Officially known as influenza, this can be a very serious, dangerous condition for children under five to go through, and it would be best to get to an allergy and asthma clinic. This disease also affects the upper respiratory system, but it has several key differences from the common cold that set it apart.

  • Body aches
  • Fever with chills
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Exhaustion
  • Runny nose
  • Stomach ache or vomiting

Croup

This is an illness that’s pretty much confined to only children. It’s an illness that inflames the windpipe, the voice box, and even the airways that lead to the lungs. The best way that you can tell if the sickness is croup is if the child suddenly has a strong, barking cough that comes on in nighttime. It mostly affects kids who are between the ages of three months and three years. The symptoms here are:

  • Dry and barking cough
  • A tight throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Noisy and labored breathing
  • A high-pitched noise when the child inhales

Sinusitis

Infections and allergies both affect the sinuses in the same way that the nasal passages are affected. This all causes some swelling and plenty of mucus. The more that this mucus accumulates, the more germs that will grow there. The infection that follows will be painful and cause the following symptoms:

  • Nasal congestion or discharge, any color
  • Headache or facial pain
  • Coughing in the day and at night
  • Low fever
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

The severe symptoms are:

  • Nasal mucus that’s yellow or green
  • A fever above 102°F

Now that we’ve seen some of the upper respiratory diseases, let’s go ahead and take a look at some of the lower respiratory illnesses.

Respiratory Syncytial Virus

RSV does start as an upper respiratory virus, but it tends to move into the lower respiratory system and cause illness in infants as young kids. It’s so common, in fact, that it actually affects more than 90 percent of all kids before they turn two.

RSV usually manifests as nothing more potent than the common cold for many children. However, there are cases where the lower respiratory tract is affected and swollen. This causes there to be less room for air to pass through the lungs, which causes the poor kids to have difficult, wheezy breathing.

There are actually studies that have looked at the incidence of RSV. When kids experience a more serious form of RSV, they’re apparently more likely to develop asthma at some point in the future. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Upper respiratory symptoms of common cold
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Fast breathing
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue

There are a variety of illnesses that young kids can be afflicted with. Both the upper respiratory system and the lower respiratory system can be plagued by some kind of infection that could manifest as the common cold or be disguised as something similar while being more potent than the other form.

It’s common and understandable to react to cold-like symptoms as being nothing more than a common cold in your child. However, there’s a definite possibility that the symptoms your child is experiencing could be the result of something more serious such as asthma or allergies!

It’s always best to rather be safe than sorry. Especially if your child is experiencing more severe symptoms, or has symptoms that are lasting abnormally long, it’s best to get in touch with an asthma specialist or allergist who cares about its patients and puts their best interest at heart.

Please call to reach out to us for an appointment if you would like to make your child healthy again! Our doctors have years of experience at handling these types of situations and specialize in pediatrics. We will help you and your child at our local Anthem Allergy & Asthma Clinic,  or our Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale and  Avondale clinics!

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Allergy Testing in Phoenix – FAQs you need to know

Allergy Testing for Adult Allergy Sufferers

Few topics cause more complaining than the topic of ‘allergies’.  A large number of Arizonans either have allergies themselves or know someone who suffers from them.  And we’ve all heard the stories, from the misery inflicted on people with Hay Fever, to the epi-pens carried by some individuals  who are at risk for anaphylactic shock due to bee stings which are especially common in our desert.  Because some allergies can cause dangerous reactions, it’s important that you consult a specialist if you suspect you have developed one.

If something you have eaten, taken, or come into contact with has caused you to have some sort of reaction, your doctor might recommend you have an allergy test done.  Allergy tests can help pinpoint the agents responsible for allergic reactions; once those agents are properly identified, you and your doctor can decide on a treatment regimen together that can help you avoid future reactions or mitigate their symptoms.   

But how do allergy tests work?Allergy Testing for skin allergies and food allergies in Phoenix

 It depends on the type of test done.

  • The most common type of allergy test performed is the IgE skin test.  This is the one everyone thinks of when they hear ‘allergy testing’.  In this test, small pricks or scratches are made in the skin, and potential allergens are introduced to each area.  If a reaction occurs, that means the person has a sensitivity to that allergen.  For example, say a person is tested with grass pollen, cat dander, and dust.  If they are allergic to the grass pollen, the skin tested with that allergen will swell, itch, and resemble an insect bite, while the other areas appear normal.  If there are no reactions but the doctor suspects an allergy nonetheless, a tiny amount of allergen may be injected under the skin to see if an allergic reaction occurs.
  • Another type of allergy test is the ‘Challenge’ test.  This type of allergy testing is often used for food or medication allergies.  In Challenge testing, a tiny amount of a potential allergen is inhaled or taken by mouth.  Because of the risk for potentially fatal allergic reactions, this test must be supervised by a trained medical professional, such as an allergist.
  • A third type of allergy test is the IgE blood test. This test isn’t really used unless you have a skin condition that rules out the IgE skin test, or you take certain medications.  The results are just as accurate as the other tests, but there is a delay in receiving results due to need in to send the sample to a lab for analysis.

Choose a Board Certified Allergist for proper allergy testing:

Regardless of the type of test you’re given, it’s important that you consult a true Allergist to have these tests conducted.  Tests unsupervised by a medical professional –such as in supermarkets, alternative health clinics, or at-home tests-can produce less reliable results and may increase the risk of dangerous reactions. Plus, many of these only test for the most common allergens; whereas at a practice like ours- we test for 140 allergens!

If you are in need of the most thorough allergy testing around, Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates, PLC  have your solution.  Please don’t hesitate to book online right now! We have offices in Phoenix, Avondale, Glendale, Scottsdale and Anthem!

 

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Why do I get allergies in Phoenix

Why do you keep getting allergies?

The fact is simple. If you’ve had a few allergic reactions, then you need to prepared for the onset of those symptoms as they can be triggered by numerous things out of your control. We’re not hoping to strike you with terror by saying this, but it helps to take your allergies seriously. Even when your reactions are considered “mild,” the irritation is likely highly unbearable though you just tell yourself it’s alright.

But It’s NOT alright!

Phoenix Allergies: More Complicated Than You Think

Why do you keep getting allergies? Phoenix allergies and pollution

Allergies in Arizona are NOT that simple

Something needs to be done, and you should seek allergy testing by a licensed clinician who SPECIALIZES in treating allergies and asthma. You more than likely get triggers from numerous sources and not just one. So stop blaming those reactions on the seasons, and find out for sure why you’re having a runny nose, itchy eyes, sinus headaches and just all-around irritability. That irritability makes you not want to sleep at times

Let’s consider a few reasons why you have been experiencing some of these symptoms in the first place. Understanding this may give you a better perspective on why seeing a true allergy specialist in Arizona could change your life permanently.

Roughly 1.1 billion people on this planet smoke cigarettes. And you may be one of them– and we know how tough it is on you if you have allergies. Even if you aren’t a smoker, the likelihood of interacting with the smoke-filled air caused by secondhand smoke is high.

Even Phoenix air pollution and smog fall into the same category as a potential allergen that you have little power in escaping. Our Valley traffic and smog  can trigger symptoms you don’t care for and yet you can do nothing about. Common friends to those triggers are simple experiences we all have that include colds, the flu and even sore throats.

And we know, it’s not your fault, but you should still have the best preventative steps taken so you’re not helpless. Dr Habib and Dr Alasaly are great for this.  So next time you’re ready to blame your allergies on a single factor, be sure to see a professional to determine its real nature. You’d only be doing yourself a great favor this way- and we would love to meet you at one of our 5 Valley-wide offices!

 

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How Arizona Winter’s Strong El Niño Will Affect Your Allergies in 2016

Arizona Allergy Problems and Treatment for El Nino

Do you remember the strong El Niño of 1997-98? The Phoenix Valley and much of Arizona experienced a wet late winter. This year’s El Niño is at least as strong or possibly even stronger than the one in 1997-98, a fact that seems to be borne out by strong storms hitting the California coast and making their way over the mountains to Arizona. Not only will the tempest be in the skies, it will also be in the nasal passages and lungs of local allergy sufferers.

Already we’re seeing an uptick in the number of people visiting our Valley-wide allergy and asthma clinics. That’s because the wet conditions typical of an El Niño winter and spring in Arizona are ideal for producing mold spores followed by pollen as trees and desert plants begin awakening from their short winter slumber. Even if your allergies are mild, you will likely experience increased symptoms over the next few months.

For some patients, the strength of their symptoms can become severe, leading to respiratory distress and hospitalization. Become proactive and visit us before your symptoms become too severe. Ignoring strong allergy symptoms can lead to nasal and ear infections and to respiratory problems such as bronchitis in addition to severe asthma.

Unfortunately, many Arizonans can expect severe symptoms for several months. Due to our high levels of rain since last fall,  the desert will come alive with blooming plants, meaning the air will be saturated with more pollen than normal until the summer burns it off.

In addition to immunotherapy and taking medications before you head outside, you can do several things to lessen symptom severity. Keep doors and windows closed and make sure that air conditioning filters are changed frequently. Set your ventilation system in your car to recirculate cabin air so additional allergens aren’t pulled in.

Pollen levels tend to be highest in the morning and dissipate as the day goes on. Avoid hiking and wear a mask if you are going to do any gardening. Shower when you come in to wash off pollen.

If your symptoms seem to spiral out of control, consider getting additional allergy testing. You may have developed additional sensitivities, but the only way to know definitively is to come into our office and be tested. Please contact our office today or online appointment setter  today to schedule an appointment with our Allergy physician today!

 

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Kids, Allergies and Allergy Shots – Ouch!

We are a Phoenix allergy and asthma clinic that specializes in allergy testing for children

Is your Phoenix Allergy & Asthma Clinic doing allergy testing for your child?

If you child is battling year-round allergies, and allergy medication and environmental control of symptoms isn’t enough, your Phoenix allergy and asthma clinic may recommend allergy shots for your child. Though effective for certain types of allergies and safe for kids as young as 5, allergy shots can nonetheless be a frightening suggestion for younger allergy patients.

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