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4 Important Tips to Prevent Childhood Asthma Attacks

4 Important Tips to Prevent Childhood Asthma Attacks

If your child suffers from asthma, you are probably already aware of some of the triggers. Any number of things can trigger an asthma attack – from the fumes coming out of your fireplace to the secondhand smoke wafting through your home. We recently wrote a blog on how to reduce asthma problems by changing your child’s diet, but in this blog, we want to discuss several other ways to help your kids deal with this deadly disease.

You already know that keeping these triggers to a minimum is one of the best ways to keep those asthma attacks reduced. While nothing can eliminate all asthma attacks, making a few changes around your home can make your child healthier and happier.

Eliminate Secondhand Smoke

Eliminate Secondhand Smoke

According to experts, smoke is as dangerous or even more dangerous than direct smoking, and children are especially susceptible to its negative effects.

Smoke is one of the most powerful asthma triggers – and one of the easiest to avoid. Simply living in a home where smokers are lighting up can significantly increase the odds of an asthma attack. If your child has asthma, you owe it to yourself and your family to completely cut out the secondhand smoke.

That means not allowing smoking inside your home, even when the asthma sufferer is not present. The fumes from those cigarettes can linger throughout the home – in the curtains, in the carpets and even in your child’s toys. Making sure that no one – from parents and relatives to caregivers and visitors – smokes inside your home is one of the most effective ways to keep those asthma attacks at bay.

Watch Those Household Chemicals

The average home is filled with chemicals – from the pesticide sprays, you use in the garden to the glass cleaner you use on your windows. Those household chemicals may not bother you, but they could be a real trigger for someone with asthma.

It is a good idea to limit the kind and amount of chemicals you use around the home – and to look for natural alternatives wherever and whenever you can. Those natural cleansers can be just as effective as the chemical kind – and much less likely to trigger an asthma attack.

Keep it Clean

Cleanliness is essential in a home where an asthma sufferer lives. Phoenix desert dust mites, mold, mildew, roof rats, and other contaminants can trigger asthma attacks – especially in children. Keeping those contaminants at bay is a great way to reduce asthma attacks and protect your child.

That means washing sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding frequently to limit the number of dust mites in the bedroom. It also means keeping cockroaches and cats (pet fur is not good either!) at bay by always storing leftovers in airtight containers – or in the refrigerator. If you do spot household pests, use closed baits and traps – avoid spray pesticides that could trigger an asthma attack.

You can help prevent mold and mildew in your home by immediately fixing any cracks or leaks you find. Watch for signs of water damage, and always investigate any wet spots. Running the exhaust fan every time, you take a shower can also reduce the growth of mold and mildew.

Shield Your Lungs from Pollen

When the sun is shining and the pavement is hot enough to fry an egg, just walking outside could trigger an asthma attack in a vulnerable individual. Asthma sufferers are more likely to suffer respiratory problems than those who do not suffer from asthma and having a basic understanding of pollinating plants and their associated pollen counts could be critical.

A number of plants common in the Phoenix metro area are huge sources of pollen, not just in the hot summer months but all year long. For homeowners mowing their lawns and irrigating their yards, weeds are a big problem. Simply watering the grass or spraying the weeds could send pollen particles flying, so it is important for asthma sufferers to protect themselves.

Other sources of pollen can hide in our lush greenbelts and desert mountain preserves. If you love to hike and spend time outdoors, researching pollen counts before you head out could be a smart move. You can also use information about high pollen counts to time your hikes and choose trails that are less likely to trigger your respiratory issues.

Phoenix is a wonderful place to be, and it is blessed with amazing natural beauty. You do not have to hide indoors or avoid the great things the area has to offer. All you need is a healthy dose of common sense and some basic knowledge.

Making a few simple changes around your home can significantly reduce the number of asthma issues your child suffers from. These changes are not difficult to make, and they can help the asthma sufferer in your home enjoy a more comfortable life, and avoid a deadly attack.

If you need more help and live in the Phoenix area, please contact our asthma and allergy office for an appointment with one of our Board Certified doctors.  We have 5 locations in the Valley to serve you and your family- and are known for the care and experience when working with children!

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Reducing Asthma Symptoms in Children with a Change in Diet

Reducing Asthma Symptoms in Children with a Change in Diet

Parents who would like to help reduce asthma symptoms in their children without medication, or additional medication, may be able to accomplish this goal through a change in diet. Parents may even be able to help prevent asthma in their youngsters with the right meal plan. Several studies confirm the benefits for children of eating plenty of fatty fish, vegetables and fruits, while avoiding unhealthy foods.

Why Are Fatty Fish Important in the Diet?

Why Are Fatty Fish Important in the Diet for Asthma Prevention

Some examples of these fish, also called oily fish, include salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and mackerel. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are recognized for anti-inflammation benefits for the cardiovascular system. These nutrients help prevent and manage heart disease. That’s a primary reason so many people take fish oil supplements. The American Heart Association advises people to eat at least two servings of fish, preferably oily fish, every week.

Some examples of these fish, also called oily fish, include salmon, tuna, sardines, herring and mackerel. They contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which are recognized for anti-inflammation benefits for the cardiovascular system. These nutrients help prevent and manage heart disease. That’s a primary reason so many people take fish oil supplements. The American Heart Association advises people to eat at least two servings of fish, preferably oily fish, every week.

Asthma and Inflammation

Asthma symptoms are caused by inflammation in the airways that cause air passages to become narrower temporarily. With uncontrolled asthma, the person sometimes has difficulty breathing, with symptoms of wheezing, chest tightness and coughing. Patients generally carry rescue inhalers in addition to their other asthma medication in case they experience an uncomfortable, and perhaps severe, attack. 

Reducing Symptoms

Research published in the October 2018 issue of the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics focused on the advantages of eating at least two servings of fatty fish per day for the anti-inflammation qualities. The children in the study ate a Mediterranean diet, which is known for a daily menu emphasizing vegetables, whole grains and fruit, along with a small amount of low-fat dairy foods, eggs and lean meat.

After six months, the participants who had been eating the Mediterranean diet with two servings of oily fish per week experienced significant improvement in lung function compared with participants who ate a more standard diet.

Prevention 

Authors of research appearing in PLOS One in 2013, from the Public Library of Science, looked at several studies focusing on how consuming omega-3 fatty acids affects the development of asthma. They found that children who consumed more omega-3 fatty acids had a significantly lower risk of developing asthma. However, this was not true for adults.

Expert Insight

An article published in the journal Nutrients in 2017 discussed the differences between the standard American diet and the Mediterranean diet, and how these types of eating patterns can influence asthma symptoms. The typical American diet is characterized by a high intake of numerous foods associated with increased inflammation in the body. These include red meat, processed meat, fast food, deep-fried food, high-fat food, sugary substances and refined grains like low-fiber bread and pasta. 

What to Do Next Regarding your Children Suffering from Asthma

When parents realize their children are eating a relatively large amount of unhealthy foods, it’s time to make some major changes to the menu. They might try serving a different species of fatty fish each week so everyone can try the various flavors. A usual favorite can be served on another day. Boosting the intake of veggies, fruit and whole grains will be advantageous, and so will minimizing going to fast-food restaurants and serving too many foods with added sugar.

When children already have symptoms of asthma, their parents can seek diagnosis and treatment for these youngsters at Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates in metropolitan Phoenix

Please note that this article is for education purposes, and does not constitute medical advice.  Please see an asthma doctor or your PCP before changing medications or modifying your diet.

See also related posts

Tired of dealing with asthma?

Respiratory Illness in Children- Advice from an Allergy Doctor

10 Common Myths about Allergies and Asthma

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Does Eczema in Children increase the risk of Allergies

Does Eczema in Children increase the risk of Allergies

If your child has been diagnosed with atopic dermatitis (eczema), food allergies, asthma, or other conditions, it can be tough to understand how these conditions interact with each other, and how they came to be in the first place.

As a parent, having a child with a medical condition can be stressful, and we are here to help! Our team of experienced and highly-trained professionals can help you navigate daily life and offer better insights into the causes and remedies of your unique symptoms and condition.

Understanding Childhood Allergies

Normal Skin VS Eczema Skin

Pediatric allergies can range from atopic dermatitis (eczema) to asthma, hay fever, and food allergies. In recent studies, it was found that if your child was diagnosed with eczema while they were an infant, it was highly possible that this would progress into other conditions in later childhood. These conditions include:

  • Allergic Rhinitis (hay fever)
  • Asthma
  • Food Allergies

Does Eczema cause other Problems?

One study investigated whether early allergy sensitivities increased the progression to other conditions. What they ultimately found was that children who developed eczema during infancy and who also had allergic sensitizations (such as an allergy to food) were 7 times more likely to develop other conditions, like asthma, in later childhood. They also concluded that children with dual conditions were also more likely to develop other conditions such as food allergies and allergic rhinitis (hay fever) for example.

However, this study also concluded that if a child developed eczema without any other allergen sensitivities by their first birthday, they would be at a lower risk of developing asthma or other allergy-associated sensitivities in later childhood.

These conditions are thought to be caused by an irregularity of the gene encoding filaggrin, which is an important skin protein. Unfortunately, this type of genetic testing isn’t readily available in most clinical practices, so alternative approaches for diagnosis may be needed.

What Can Be Done for Children?

Here at Adult and Pediatric Allergy Associates, we understand the discomfort and anxiety that allergies such as atopic dermatitis can bring into your and your children’s lives. Our desert environment, along with foods and even a lack of sufficient allergy awareness plays a major role in the rising number of allergic attacks throughout Arizona.  And as you can see, the more we prevent allergies from starting, the better it can be for our growing children!

Our top-rated Phoenix allergy and asthma specialists can help you and your child better understand and manage your allergy symptoms, including the underlying causes and triggers with  comprehensive allergy testing here in the Valley.  With over 20 years of experience and 5 clinics across the valley, you can be sure to find the absolute best treatment plans for patients of all ages.

If you are tired of the effects of persistent allergic reactions contact us at 602-242-4592 today and discover Adult & Pediatric Allergy Associates, P.C. can help!

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Shellfish Allergies in Children

Shellfish Allergies in Children

Shellfish and sushi consumption is high in the Asia-Pacific, Phoenix and growing all over the U.S.  Unfortunately, reports of allergy responses from shellfish have also increased. Shellfish allergies are common in adults compared to children; and in male children compared to female ones. In addition, if your family has a history of shellfish allergies, your child may be more likely to be allergic too.

Some of the shellfish causing the allergic reactions are crustaceans and mollusks such as shrimp, crab, lobster, clam, oyster and mussel though prawns/ shrimp was most commonly implicated in shellfish allergies which are commonly found in sushi rolls and at many restaurants.

Tropomyosin is the allergen in shellfish causing this immune reaction among other proteins such as arginine kinase. Shellfish proteins can come in contact with your child through ingestion, inhalation – of fumes while cooking – or even skin contact.

Allergy reactions vary by age and even by region. Symptoms of shellfish allergy are hives, eczema, wheezing, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms. More severe anaphylactic reactions can cause breathing obstruction, dizziness and shock with high pulse and dropping blood-pressure which can be fatal.

selfishfood

Diagnosis

It is important to differentiate allergy reaction from shellfish food poisoning. Toxins stored within the shellfish – domoic acid, brevetoxins, saxitoxins, azaspiracids, biotoxins and bacterial/viral toxins – can affect your nervous, gastrointestinal and other systems.

Allergic reactions are therefore verified using a variety of tests including skin prick testing.

Treatment

Like most food allergies, avoidance of the allergy-causing food is suggested.

  • You should take care to avoid all shellfish for your child; check with your doctor/dietician.
  • Eating in restaurants where the oil or vessels/surfaces may have come in contact with shellfish can cause allergic reactions. You may decide to avoid restaurants where shellfish or fish are on the menu.
  • Carrying and knowing how to use an epinephrine auto injector may be useful; teach your child this, once he or she is a bit older
  • Doctors also suggest introducing shellfish earlier – to babies as young as 6 months – as this may actually reduce chances of allergies. Monitor your child after introducing the new food and if there are no adverse reactions; include the new food as part of his or her regular diet.

Reference:

https://www.todaysparent.com/baby/baby-development/babywearing-techniques-for-winter/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/shellfish-allergy/basics/risk-factors/con-20032093

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Eggs: A Common Allergy Causing Food for Children

Egg allergy is caused due to our immune system reacting against the proteins in the egg – usually found in the white part. It is particularly seen in younger children starting from 6 months of age. Egg allergies can be either permanent or transient – in transient cases, children outgrow their egg allergy.

Some people have allergic reactions to egg upon skin contact but can ingest it because gastric digestion reduces the allergen of the egg proteins. Sometimes egg proteins can be resistant to the heat and digestive enzymes in the stomach causing an immune response.

For children with allergies, the reaction is usually within minutes to a couple of hours of ingestion of egg, with symptoms such as hives or swelling. Skin symptoms are most common, but other immediate reactions involving the gastrointestinal or respiratory tracts are also seen.

egg child food allergy

Severity of reaction

Egg allergy has been implicated as a trigger for atopic dermatitis. Children who have egg allergies with atopic dermatitis response are more likely to develop asthma.

The severity of the allergic reaction varies from person to person, from episode to episode. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening, and infants and children who are asthmatics are particularly at risk. Fatal incidents are few, but have occurred.

Allergic reactions are milder when ingesting cooked denatured egg, but stronger in case of eating raw or undercooked egg. Gastrointestinal inflammatory reactions are also present in some children showing up as allergic eosinophilic esophagitis.

Medical Treatment

Egg allergy can be verified by a variety of diagnostic methods. However, there is no permanent cure, so managing this involves:

  • Avoiding eggs – this can prove difficult as egg whites, shells etc. are in so many products including medicines and vaccines. Being vigilant becomes important.
  • For patients with a history of severe allergic reactions, having an epinephrine autoinjector at hand always.
  • Some studies have suggested kids fed egg at 4-6 months of age were less likely to develop an egg allergy.

When it comes to the adult population, occupational asthma has been seen in populations which work in egg factories or bakeries where egg is used commonly in aerosol form.

Reference:

https://www.livescience.com/56173-egg-peanut-allergy-risk-early-introduction.html

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