Asthma

Anu R. Pathak, MD

Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine Physician located in Southbridge, MA

Asthma is a chronic condition that affects one out of every 12 American children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If your child is wheezing, coughing, or struggling to breathe without effort, expert pediatrician Anu R. Pathak, MD, and her compassionate pediatric staff can help. At her office in Southbridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Pathak can evaluate your child’s lung function to determine whether or not they have asthma. To schedule an appointment with the team, call Anu R. Pathak, MD, or book online.

Asthma Q & A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that affects the passage of oxygen from the airways to the lungs. Your airways become inflamed, irritated, or swollen, which makes breathing comfortably difficult. While asthma is common, especially among children, it’s a serious condition.

With proper treatment, most patients find that asthma can be managed. It may occur at any age and never truly goes away. However, younger patients can get asthma while their lungs are still developing and never have symptoms later in life.

What are the symptoms of asthma?

The most common asthma symptoms to look out for in your child include:

  • Constant coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • General fatigue

There are many different types of asthma, so it’s important to know what can trigger a flare-up:

Exercise-induced asthma

Some children and adults only experience asthma symptoms when they overexert themselves, especially during times of exercise. These flare-ups most often occur when the air outside is dry and cold.

Allergy-induced asthma

Your immune system is designed to protect against harmful bacteria, viruses, and more. Unfortunately, it can sometimes overreact and fight back against substances it shouldn’t. For those with asthma, these triggers are typically airborne like mold spores, pollen, dust, pet dander, and more. 

Those with allergy-induced asthma may experience increased wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness during seasonal changes.

Occupational asthma

If you work around certain chemicals, fumes, gas, dust, and other irritants, they can trigger your asthma symptoms.

How is asthma treated?

How your child’s asthma is treated depends on the type and severity of their condition. Some of the most common asthma treatments include:

Inhaled corticosteroids

Inhaled corticosteroids are medications that you inhale to reduce inflammation of the airways. They help open up your airways, so it’s easier to breathe.

Combination inhalers

Combination inhalers contain both a corticosteroid medication and a long-acting beta-agonist (LABA) to open narrow airways and prevent severe asthma attacks.

Short-acting bronchodilators

Short-acting bronchodilators provide immediate relief for asthma symptoms in the event of an attack. A quick-relief inhaler should never be your child’s default asthma medication, so talk to Dr. Pathak about alternative options if you feel that they often need quick-relief medications.

Depending on your child’s symptoms, Dr. Pathak may recommend a combination of asthma treatments to maintain healthy breathing. To learn more, call Anu R. Pathak, MD, or book an appointment online.