Asthma leads to thousands of ER visits

May is Asthma Awareness Month — know the signs

Spring has sprung and so have the allergies, especially here in the Ohio Valley. However, what you think might be seasonal allergies could be asthma.

“Asthma is a real problem in Kentucky,” said Nikki Boyd, Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness. “In fact, asthma is one of the leading causes of trips to our emergency departments.”

Asthma can be controlled with medications and treatments, but many cases go undiagnosed. The condition can be confused with colds or allergies, especially in the spring.

“It can be really hard to tell,” said Nikki, who has asthma. “Sometimes it masks itself with a cough or a slight wheeze. Or it goes hand in hand with allergies, so a lot of parents brush it off as just part of allergy season.”

Erin Frazier, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Broadway, said parents should look out for several symptoms.

“If your child is coughing, especially at night, wheezing or not bouncing back quickly from cold-like symptoms, then it’s time to have a conversation with your pediatrician,” Dr. Frazier said.

Ask yourself about these warning signs:

  • Does your child cough a lot at night or in the morning?
  • Does your child wheeze or cough while exercising or playing?
  • When exposed to dust, allergens, smoke or strong odors, does your child wheeze, cough or experience chest tightness?
  • When your child has a cold, does it settle in the chest and take more than 10 days to clear up?
  • Do you have to give your child cough medicine more than once a month?
  • Has your child had pneumonia or bronchitis more than once in any given year?

Does your child have signs of asthma? If so, find a pediatrician