Fredericksburg Parent

March 2016

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16 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • March 2016 Ask the Expert a sk t h e e x p e rt If my child has environmental allergies are they at a higher risk for asthma? Yes, environmental allergies are a major and consistent risk factor for the develop- ment of asthma. In fact, most asthmatics (about 80 percent) have seasonal aller- gies and uncontrolled sinus symptoms may adversely impact their asthma control. Typically, environmental allergies develop prior to the onset of asthma; therefore, a comprehensive allergy evaluation combined with skin testing may be helpful in determining which children are more likely to develop it. What are the signs of an asthma attack? Asthma is associated with airway inflammation or narrowing that may cause dis- ruptions in normal breathing. During an asthma exacerbation (attack) the airways become more swollen and the muscles around the airways can tighten. Typically this results in chest tightness, coughing, wheezing (a whistling sound emitted from the lungs), and/or shortness of breath. Mild symptoms of an asthma flare up may be detected early by lung function testing. Implementing appropriate treatment at the onset of an asthma attack may help prevent a hospitalization. Is there anything we can do before allergy season to prevent or lesson allergy symptoms? Pollen counts (i.e., grass, tree, rag- weed) vary during different times of the year. Depending on the cause of your symptoms, certain medica- tions can be implemented before the start of season to keep your symptoms under control. An aller- gist can help identify the allergens causing your symptoms, thereby incorporating a personalized treat- ment plan to suit your needs. Aside from medications, having a lifestyle modification plan prior to the rise of pollen counts may help as well. Contact your allergist ahead of time and be prepared. Are you or a family member one of the millions who suffer with seasonal or environmental allergies? These allergies can negatively affect your daily life and even your ability to sleep. Dr. Ahmed Butt, clinical professor at Medical College of Virginia, and one of three doctors at Allergy & Asthma Centers of Fredericksburg & Fairfax, is here to help with advice and answers to important allergy concerns. INTERVIEWED BY BRENDA SAPANGHILA Allergy & Asthma Centers of Fredericksburg & Fairfax The Doctors of Allergy & Asthma Cen- ters of Fredericksburg & Fairfax. (from left) Seth C. Craig III, M.D.; Ahmed Butt, M.D. ; Andrew S. Kim, M.D.

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