Thursday, April 2, 2009
Medical Reports: Asthma Answers
If your child has trouble breathing or a cough that just doesn't seem to go away, many parents assume it's a cold, but as Seven's Diana Diaz shows us, sometimes it's more serious and parents need to know the Asthma Answers.
WSVN -- Jumping rope, hula-hooping or gymnastics, there isn't much that can slow 6-year-old Zoe Ziegler down ... except asthma.
Zoe Ziegler: "I was running a lot, and I told my teacher that I had a hard time breathing."
Zoe's parents had no idea their adopted daughter suffered from asthma.
Brigitte Ziegler: "She had a cough, and I guess she was trying to clear the airways, but we didn't know what it was. It was just kind of a cough that went along with a cold."
They made several trips to the emergency room where doctors told them she had a cold or allergies, but as her problems continued, they knew it was something more.
Dr. Sharlene Llanes: "You could see it, that she's got rapid shallow breathing, and she's almost gulping like a fish does. There are about five million children who have asthma in the United States."
Pediatric allergist Sharlene Llanes says there is a stigma attached to having asthma, and that's why many pediatricians don't like to make that diagnosis.
Dr. Sharlene Llanes: "Unfortunately, there are so many words thrown to asthma: wheezers, bronchitis, croup."
She says parents need to be on the lookout for symptoms of asthma such as recurrent episodes of wheezing, coughing and shortness of breath.
Dr. Llanes says, if every time your child sneezes you hear a cough or they have trouble catching their breath it could be asthma.
Dr. Sharlene Llanes: "So it keeps happening and happening and happening, so it's very frustrating for the parents."
Asthma is a chronic condition, meaning you'll probably have it for life. It could be genetic or influenced by the environment. Eighty percent of asthmatic episodes are triggered by allergens like dust mites, molds, pollens, even grass, but the good news is with the proper treatment and by avoiding the triggers, asthma can be controlled.
Zoe's parents bought a stethoscope, so they could better listen to her breathing, and they have the right equipment on hand to keep her airways open. Since then they haven't had any trips to the ER, and everyone is breathing much easier.
Brigitte Ziegler: "She can play more. She's active more. She's happier, and so therefore we are."
Diana Diaz: "The doctor says it's also important to talk to your doctor about medications to help control asthma."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Sharlene Llanes
Florida Center for Allergy & Asthma Care
600 North Hiatus Road
Pembroke Pines, FL 33026
Tel: (954) 437-3600