Pediatric Allergy and Immunology
Take your child to see the doctor if you suspect he or she has asthma. Early treatment will help control symptoms and possibly prevent asthma attacks.
Make an appointment with your child’s doctor if you notice:
- Coughing that is constant, is intermittent or seems linked to physical activity
- Wheezing or whistling sounds when your child breathes out
- Shortness of breath or rapid breathing
- Complaints of chest tightness
- Repeated episodes of suspected bronchitis or pneumonia
See your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. A number of conditions can cause similar symptoms, making it important to get a prompt and accurate diagnosis.
Get emergency medical treatment if you have:
- Shortness of breath or wheezing that is quickly increasing, making it a struggle to breathe
- No improvement even after using a prescription inhaler for asthma attacks
It’s not clear what causes exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. There may be more than one biological process involved. People with exercise-induced bronchoconstriction have inflammation and might produce excess mucus after hard exercise.
Exercise-induced bronchoconstriction is more likely to occur in:
- People with asthma. About 90% of people with asthma have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction. However, the condition can occur in people without asthma too.
- Elite athletes. Although anyone can have exercise-induced bronchoconstriction, it’s more common in high-level athletes.
Factors that can increase the risk of the condition or act as triggers include:
- Cold air
- Dry air
- Air pollution
- Chlorine in swimming pools
- Chemicals from ice cleaning equipment
- Activities with extended periods of deep breathing, such as long-distance running, swimming or soccer
A reflex action involving sudden noisy expulsion of air from the lungs. Cough is not always related to an underlying condition. It may be caused by: irritants such as smoke, dust, drug side effects, improperly swallowing food or water, and post nasal drip.
Immunological disorders are diseases or conditions caused by a dysfunction of the immune system and include allergy, asthma, autoimmune diseases, autoinflammatory syndromes and immunological deficiency syndromes.
Children with neuromuscular disorders have primarily ventilation rather than oxygenation impairment as a result of inspiratory muscle insufficiency. When the respiratory muscles are not assisted, this leads to hypercapnic ventilatory failure or acute respiratory failure mostly owing to ineffective cough during otherwise benign upper respiratory tract infections.
Development of adult respiratory disease is influenced by events in childhood. The impact of childhood pneumonia on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is not well defined. We hypothesize that childhood pneumonia is a risk factor for reduced lung function and COPD in adult smokers.
Pneumonia is a form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. The lungs are made up of small sacs called alveoli, which fill with air when a healthy person breathes. When an individual has pneumonia, the alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, which makes breathing painful and limits oxygen intake.
Pneumonia is caused by several infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria and fungi. The most common are the following.
- Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in children.
- Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is the second most common cause of bacterial pneumonia.
- Respiratory syncytial virus is the most common viral cause of pneumonia.
- In infants infected with HIV, Pneumocystis jiroveci is one of the most common causes of pneumonia, responsible for at least one quarter of all pneumonia deaths in HIV-infected infants.
Seasonal allergies can also be linked to certain food allergies. Pollen food allergy syndrome, also known as oral allergy syndrome (OAS), occurs when a protein in a fruit, vegetable, or nut that is similar to a protein in allergy-causing pollen causes you to have a reaction.
Sleep disorders that affect children cover a broad range of conditions including:
- Circadian rhythm disorders
- Night terrors
- Obstructive sleep apnea (may be caused by an obstruction or blockage in the airways that causes pauses in breathing during sleep, and may be treated by pediatric ear, nose, and throat specialists, also called otolaryngologists)