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Dr. Colin Knight, Miami, Florida

Helping Your Child Manage Asthma Symptoms

Being a parent of a child with asthma can be very challenging. It can be very frustrating to deal with the symptoms of the illness, such as coughing and frequent absences from school. In 2016, around six million kids were living with an asthma diagnosis. In 2017, over half of those with asthma reported experiencing at least one attack.

Although asthma is a chronic illness, it can be managed by reducing exposure to allergens and irritants. This can help minimize the symptoms of the illness and prevent attacks. Asthma is very manageable and should not prevent your child from enjoying their daily activities. These are some helpful tips for parents trying to help their children manage asthma symptoms.

SEE THE DOCTOR REGULARLY

Getting a prescription for medication can help children manage their asthma. Your child’s doctor will then develop a treatment plan that will be reviewed at each visit. After a patient’s first appointment, their doctor will ask them to return for follow-up visits, usually to check on them every three months, six months, or a year. Doctors also suggest that parents schedule a new appointment if their child’s symptoms don’t improve to consider further treatment options.

KEEP RECORDS OF SYMPTOMS

It’s essential to come to every appointment prepared to discuss your child’s progress. This will help the doctor develop a more effective treatment plan. Since your child’s doctor only gets to see them at appointments, they rely on your account of your child’s symptoms to determine the best treatment plan.

Your child’s history will help the doctor identify the triggers that lead to the onset of symptoms. Try to keep a log of wheezing episodes, any asthma-related medical visits, history of medications and treatments, how often they use an inhaler, etc. This information will help provide a complete picture of your child’s experience and guide their doctor to select the most effective treatment.

ESTABLISH AN ASTHMA PLAN

Your child’s doctor can help develop a written plan that addresses the various aspects of managing asthma symptoms and possible emergencies. This will help the family work together to make the most of their time together without constantly worrying about possible asthma symptoms.

A good written plan should include details about monitoring the child’s asthma and how to manage their medication. It should also address their triggers and symptoms and when to see the doctor. Being prepared ahead of time will help reduce anxiety and ensure a quick, effective response in an emergency.

FOCUS ON CONTROLLING SYMPTOMS

Instead of focusing on immediate problems, visualize your child’s goal as being able to maintain their health instead of constantly reacting to crises. For instance, if your child has persistent symptoms, this could mean that they need a new treatment plan. Asthma should be manageable, so if your current control strategies aren’t working, it’s time for a change.

TEACH YOUR CHILD TO MANAGE THEIR OWN TREATMENTS

Depending on the type of asthma treatment you choose, your child may need to learn how to use different devices to maximize their effectiveness. Inhalers, nebulizers, and peak flow meters are all common tools used by asthma patients. To help your child learn to be independent and recognize their own symptoms, teach them how to use these tools themselves as appropriate for their developmental level. Whatever treatment type your child is prescribed, try to work it into their daily routine. This makes it easier for everyone to remember and helps it become a habit.

BE PATIENT

Although rescue inhalers can help temporarily, they are not always the best long-term solution. Instead, preventive medicine can help manage symptoms and prevent them from occurring as often. However, they don’t provide the immediate symptom relief that many patients are used to with inhalers. If your child is prescribed a preventative medication, talk to your pediatrician about expectations for results. No immediate change doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t working! Be patient as you develop an effective plan for your child’s treatment and communicate openly and often with their doctor.

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Originally published at DrColinKnight.com

Dr. Colin Knight, Miami, Florida

Home Remedies for a Sore Throat

Sore throats can have various causes, from the common cold to a bacterial infection. They are often accompanied by a fever, difficulty swallowing, and pain in the neck and throat. These symptoms should not be ignored, as they can lead to more serious complications like bronchitis or pneumonia. Luckily, various home remedies for sore throats can help alleviate symptoms and make the patient feel better.

HONEY

Honey is one of nature’s most effective natural remedies for a sore throat. It has been used for centuries to treat illnesses ranging from colds and coughs to wounds. Honey works so well because it contains natural compounds which help kill dangerous bacteria (especially Streptococcus) in the body. Some infections will require a stronger antibiotic, so patients should consult a doctor if symptoms persist, but honey might help alleviate discomfort in the meantime.

For more home remedies, read the full blog here.

Dr. Colin Knight, Miami, Florida

What Parents Should Know About RSV

Respiratory syncytial virus has been making its rounds this season to the point that it is also making headlines. Last year’s social distancing helped reduce the amount of people who caught RSV, but the virus seems to be making up for lost time by infecting people in droves now that everyone is beginning to gather again. As a parent, knowing as much as possible about RSV helps you protect yourself and your family.

How Do You Catch RSV?

RSV is a fairly common respiratory virus that typically causes some mild cold-like symptoms. While most kids heal from RSV without any problems, others can go on to develop bronchiolitis, which is inflammation that occurs in the small airways of their lungs. Pneumonia is another potential complication. RSV spreads from droplets that people shed from their mouth and nose. It is also possible to catch RSV from touching a contaminated surface and transferring the germs to your eyes, nose or mouth.

What Symptoms Should You Watch For?

The incubation period for RSV is around four to six days, which means you’ll see symptoms begin to emerge during this time frame after you’ve been infected. The symptoms of RSV are a runny nose, coughing and sneezing. Your child may also develop a fever and lose their appetite. Watch for wheezing, shortness of breath and signs of any symptoms that are worsening since this could indicate that your child is developing complications.

Can Parents Catch RSV?

RSV tends to be thought of as a childhood illness, but this isn’t always the case. Most adults have developed immune systems that are better able to fight off the virus, which is why you hear about fewer adults having problems. A parent or other caregiver who catches RSV will likely feel like they have a cold until they recover. People who have chronic health conditions such as asthma or heart disease will want to closely monitor their symptoms because they could experience complications as an adult.

In a time when you are already worried about COVID, hearing that another virus is causing many kids to get sick is likely the last thing that you want to hear. However, you’re already doing many of the same things that help to prevent RSV that you do for COVID. Keep encouraging your child to wash their hands, and watch for emerging new symptoms so that you can seek care from your health provider right away.

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Originally published on DrColinKnight.com on October 6, 2021

Dr. Colin Knight, Miami, Florida

Home Remedies for a Child’s Headache

Headaches can occur in younger people more often than parents may think. There are many different causes of headaches, including lack of rest, dehydration, and anxiety. If your child has a headache every now and then and you’ve ruled out other concerning causes, you can treat your little one’s headache at home.

Here are some practical tips for helping your child feel better.

TYPES OF HEADACHES CHILDREN EXPERIENCE

Children’s headaches are either primary or secondary. A primary headache is not connected to another health condition. It can include tension headaches that aren’t accompanied by other symptoms and migraines accompanied by sweating, nausea, and changes in vision.

Secondary headaches are not as common in children. Common causes of secondary headaches include dehydration, not having enough water, and caffeine withdrawal. Rarely, secondary headaches are caused by abnormal brain structures or other underlying health conditions.

USING HOME REMEDIES TO TREAT A CHILD’S HEADACHE

If your child doesn’t need medical attention to treat his or her headache, you can try to alleviate the discomfort at home.

Getting some rest in a quiet, dark room can help. You can also apply a cool compress to your child’s eyes or forehead or place the compress on the back of his or her neck. Or you can use a warm compress on the child’s neck or have them take a shower or bath.

If your child is fussy, you can try relaxation techniques like deep breathing, playing calm music, or muscle relaxation. Check to see if your child is hungry or thirsty, and offer him or her a small meal, water, or juice.

If your child’s headache still hasn’t gone away, give them acetaminophen or ibuprofen at the appropriate dose. Don’t give aspirin to individuals under the age of 18 since this could lead to Reye syndrome, which can be fatal.

TREATING SEVERE SYMPTOMS

You should call your pediatrician or consider taking your child to the hospital if your child is still suffering from a headache. If your son or daughter is vomiting, lethargic, has blurred vision, has pain that wakes him or her up, or is suffering from a fever or sinus pain, get medical care as soon as you can.

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Originally posted on DrColinKnight.com on February 10, 2022

Dr. Colin Knight

Preparing Your Children for a COVID Variant

The COVID-19 pandemic can be a daily frustration as new variants emerge and protocols change. The fast rollout of vaccines reduced cases over the winter and spring months.

A recent Siena College poll revealed that many New Yorkers had resumed gatherings, but the vaccines remain unavailable for children under 12. So, parents continue to have the burden of protecting their kids against COVID-19.

Dr. Philip Zachariah and Dr. Denis Nash talked about how the delta variant requires the parents to weigh the risks of their children’s social activities.

THE DELTA VARIANT

Even though the severity level is much higher in adults than children, the delta variant proves to be dangerous because it spreads faster. When the infection rate increases, the cases and hospitalization of children also rises. During the second wave in Britain, every 300 in 10,000 children between the ages of 10 and 19 contracted the COVID virus. 

A recent study by the CDC revealed three times more adolescents hospitalized this winter from COVID. Dr. Dave Chokshi, New York’s Health Commissioner, stated on July 8th that parents should seriously consider having their adolescents vaccinated.

TIPS FOR PREPARING CHILDREN FOR A SAFE SUMMER

Dr. Zachariah suggested that parents remember that their children may be around unvaccinated adults during summer camps and family reunions.

Also, he stated that parents should confirm whether other people will follow mask rules during their summer activities and when using public transportation. It is vital, especially in places with low vaccination rates and higher transmission rates, as teenagers tend to mix with their peers.

SHOULD VACCINATED PARENTS GET TESTED?

The Delta variant causes high breakthrough infections in vaccinated people, so parents should get vaccinations to avoid infecting their children. According to information for the Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer vaccines, Delta also weakens antibody defenses.

In addition, there are reports of extra sneezes, COVID-filled breaths, and coughs, suggesting that more people have the virus than previously. Parents should also avoid indoor areas with many unvaccinated folks.

Dr. Zachariah said that the chances of infections might be low for vaccinated people, but instead of risking, parents should stick to places with vaccinated people only.