Allergies cause all kinds of discomforts, not just seasonally, but year-round as well. Fortunately, if your child is dealing with allergies that give them a runny nose, sneezing, or watery eyes, the pediatricians here at Clearwater Pediatric Care and Westchase Pediatric Care can help—read on to learn how!
What are allergies?
Allergies are the body's hypersensitive reaction to ordinary environmental substances or foods. Present in both children and adults, the Centers for Disease Control says that 50 million people in the United States have allergies.
When it comes to living with allergies, proper diagnosis/identification of the allergen and treatment are key to good daily function. Parents and the doctors here at our Westchase offices work together to formulate allergy care plans that are helpful to children.
Dealing with allergies
Most allergy sufferers undergo diagnostic tests to determine what substance provokes their symptoms. Typically, doctors order skin prick or scratch tests that introduce tiny amounts of suspected allergens under the skin. Any reactions are read and a treatment plan is formulated. Sometimes doctors order blood work, as well.
Once identified, allergies can be controlled through:
- Avoiding triggers, such as pet dander, foods, tobacco smoke and pollen
- Using nasal sprays, eye drops, and oral medications to suppress symptoms
- Taking allergy shots (immunotherapy) to de-sensitize the body's reaction to triggers
Additionally, there are common-sense steps parents can take to suppress their children's symptoms. These can include:
- Limiting time outdoors during peak allergy season
- Closing the windows
- Having the child wash face and hands and even change clothes after playing outdoors
- Paying attention to what interventions and medicines work and which do not (and be sure to tell your child's doctor)
- Routinely dusting hard surfaces in your home and vacuuming soft surfaces
- Avoiding all tobacco smoke
Find out more
The more knowledgeable you are about your youngster's allergies the more control you will have over symptoms. For ongoing help, stay in contact with your child's doctor. Our team of five pediatricians and their support staff are very willing to answer questions, give suggestions, and help you coordinate your child's care. For Clearwater Pediatric Care, our number is (717) 461-1543. For Westchase Pediatric Care, phone (813) 818-1543.
If your child has expressed an interest in trying out for a school-sanctioned activity, generally the first step to getting them involved is to schedule a physical examination with their pediatrician. Sometimes called pre-participation physicals or simply physicals, these examinations are often required before your child can try out for an athletic activity at their school. Read on to learn why school physicals are so important, and contact Clearwater Pediatric Care in Clearwater and Westchase, FL, to schedule one!
What's involved with a school physical?
Physical examinations are fairly straightforward; during one, your pediatrician will make a record of your child's height and weight, as well as their blood pressure and heart rate. Their breathing, flexibility, strength, and joint movement will also be evaluated. A satisfactory examination will then be forwarded to your child's school. However, any issues that are detected may require further testing or special accommodations for your child.
Which activities require physicals?
The requirements set forth can vary by the school district, but in general, any sport or club that involves activity will require a physical before your child can try out. This includes sports such as basketball, football, and soccer, as well as cheerleading, dance team, and marching band. These physicals are only good for the duration of the school year, but they can be usually applied to more than one sports season (such as soccer in the fall and baseball in the spring).
Why are school physicals necessary?
Regular exercise is an important part of a child's development, but it's also imperative that it's done safely. A school physical from your pediatrician in either Clearwater or Westchase, FL will help ensure that your child doesn't have any underlying issues, such as asthma or a heart murmur, as these conditions could put them at risk for problems when they're out on the playing field. At the very least, a physical on file will give your child's doctor a yearly baseline from which to operate in case something would change with your child's health.
To schedule a school physical with one of our pediatricians, contact Clearwater Pediatric Care today. We have locations in both Westchase and Clearwater to make it easier for you and your family to receive the best and most convenient care possible—for Clearwater, dial (727) 461-1543, and for Westchase, dial (813) 818-1543.
When it comes to asthma, close monitoring at home, at a school physical and by your Westchase pediatrician, is key to managing this serious respiratory disease. At Clearwater Pediatric Care, Drs. Raj Pai, Mary Ann Hicks, Sheila Mak, Emily Jones and Seema Kubarek want parents and children fully informed for the best possible health outcomes. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions they encounter regarding asthma.
FAQs about asthma
What is asthma, and how did my child get it? Asthma is a chronic lung disease. Influenced by heredity, allergies, stress and environmental factors asthma is the most serious chronic health condition suffered by children, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Asthma is not communicable, as is a cold or the flu, but expresses itself over time, particularly as a triggers, such as pollen, exercise, tobacco smoke or cold weather, cross a child's path.
What are the symptoms of asthma? Coughing, particularly at night, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness are typical symptoms. They vary in severity and thankfully, may be controlled by avoiding known triggers and using prescribed medications.
How is asthma diagnosed? Your pediatrician in Westchase, you as the parent, or perhaps a nurse during a school physical may notice symptoms. Your child's doctor will listen to his or her breath sounds with a stethoscope and perform lung function tests such as spirometry. The pediatrician may order lab work and allergy tests, too.
Since asthma cannot be cured, can it be controlled? The answer is a definite yes. In fact, most children with asthma lead full and active lives. Medications--both rescue inhalers for sudden symptoms and long-term control prescriptions--increase lung function, allowing for full excursion of air, less coughing and fewer episodes of fatigue.
What is an asthma action plan? As reported by Kids Health, an asthma action plan is a written tool which helps parents and children manage symptoms as they occur. Formulated with the guidance of your pediatrician, the plan outlines how to respond to escalating symptoms, what medications to administer, when to go to the doctor's office or hospital ER and more. This tool accompanies a child to school, daycare, camp and other areas outside the home so that everyone who plays an active role in your child's day to day life knows how to help him or her with asthma symptoms.
Know more for better health
The Centers for Disease Control states that 8.3 percent of American children deal with asthma. At Clearwater Pediatric Care and Westchase Pediatric Care, the doctors and their support staff work diligently to education parents and children about this chronic lung problem. The result is active, happy, healthy kids. If you have questions about childhood asthma, please contact one of our two offices. We'll be happy to help. In Clearwater, FL, phone (727) 461-1543, and in Westchase, FL, call (813) 818-1543.
Does your child need a physical in order to participate in a sport? School physicals, offered by your Clearwater and Westchase, FL, pediatricians at Clearwater Pediatric Care and Westchase Pediatric Care, ensure that your child is healthy enough to play sports.
Why are physicals important?
School physicals identify issues that could threaten your child's health or affect his or her performance on the playing field. If the physical uncovers any health issues, the pediatrician will recommend appropriate treatments. In some cases, your child may not be cleared to play until the health condition is treated or controlled.
What happens during a school physical?
During a school physical, also called a sports physical, your child's pediatrician evaluates his or her health and ability to handle physical activity.
Your son or daughter's Clearwater or Westchase pediatrician will measure your child's height, weight and blood pressure. He or she will also listen to your child's heart and lungs; examine eyes, ears, mouth, and nose; and look for abdominal abnormalities. If your son or daughter isn't up-to-date on vaccinations, he or she will receive them during the visit.
Sports physicals also focus on issues that could affect your child's health during a game or practice, such as scoliosis, heart conditions, asthma or other breathing issues, or joint instabilities. If your child has been injured in the past, the pediatrician will make sure that your son or daughter has recovered sufficiently to practice and play this season.
School physicals may also include:
- Information about avoiding injuries: Your child's pediatrician may discuss how to prevent new injuries or avoid aggravating an old injury. Proper use of protective gear, such as helmets, pads, and goggles will also be discussed.
- Discussions about healthy habits: During the physical, your child may learn about healthy food choices and the importance of avoiding drugs and alcohol.
- Recommendations for handling chronic conditions: Suggestions for managing conditions that can affect performance, such as asthma, will help your child avoid problems while playing. For example, his or her pediatrician may recommend using an inhaler before practices and games and taking more frequent breaks.
School physicals help safeguard your child's health. Schedule a physical with the pediatricians at Westchase Pediatric Care or Clearwater Pediatric Care by calling (813) 818-1543 for the Westchase, FL, office or (727) 461-1543 for the Clearwater, FL, office.
Though the words “chronic condition” are not something any parent wants to hear, childhood asthma is a problem that is both common and very manageable. If your child has been diagnosed with this condition, knowing what to do to keep it under control is crucial to your child’s short and long-term health. Read below to learn how to identify childhood asthma and manage its symptoms, and if you are concerned about your child's health, call Dr. Raj Pai, Dr. Mary Ann Hicks, Dr. Sheila Mak, and Dr. Emily Jones at either Clearwater Pediatric Care or Westchase Pediatric Care.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic condition which causes breathing problems by narrowing the airways and causing extra mucus production, thereby triggering symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Asthma symptoms can range from mild to severe to even life-threatening, all while affecting daily activities as simple as walking up the stairs. Though asthma cannot be cured, it can be managed with the proper precautions and treatments.
Does my child have asthma?
Asthma symptoms may differ from patient to patient and can occur at any time:
- Chest pain
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing sound while breathing
- Whistling sound while breathing
- Coughing (especially overnight, in children)
Some people may have asthma induced by exercise or allergies, asthma triggered by certain fumes, gases, or dust, or have asthma symptoms which occur at random.
Asthma Management in Clearwater, FL, and Tampa, FL
Treating asthma depends on its severity and the patient who has it. Avoiding triggers to prevent asthma attacks can greatly reduce the instances of symptoms. Quick-relief and long-term asthma control medications are also a common treatment for this condition. Having an asthma action plan can help parents and children act quickly in the event of an attack and know what to do to avoid complications and get the help they need.
For more information on childhood asthma, please contact Dr. Raj Pai, Dr. Mary Ann Hicks, Dr. Sheila Mak, and Dr. Emily Jones at Clearwater Pediatric Care (in Clearwater, FL) and Westchase Pediatric Care (in Tampa, FL). Call (727) 461-1543 to schedule an appointment in Clearwater or (813) 818-1543 to schedule an appointment at the Westchase office today!
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.