Not all respiratory conditions require a visit to the pediatrician. It is important to seek appropriate medical care when warning signs such as difficulty breathing or general poor condition are observed.
Young children are often more susceptible to infections that affect the respiratory tract. “This is because their immune systems are immature and, in addition, they are exposed to a variety of pathogens and infections in settings such as nurseries and schools,” explains Felipe Thorndike Piedra, a pediatric allergy specialist at Mutuátrasa University Hospital (Barcelona). According to doctors, most respiratory illnesses are usually mild and less serious, such as colds and other viral illnesses: “They are mainly caused by viruses and can cause symptoms such as nasal congestion, cough, sore throat and fever.”
Experts note that families, especially infants and preschoolers, frequently visit primary care centers and pediatric urgent care centers for these health issues. But Thorndike clarified that most people should be treated without having to visit a pediatrician, using a saline nasal rinse to improve nasal congestion and using fever-reducing medications if they have a fever or discomfort: “If you observe an alarm such as difficulty breathing, signal, or general poor condition, it is important to seek appropriate medical attention at this time, as special treatment or special care may be needed.”
In addition, the expert pointed out that the incidence of respiratory diseases in children and adults is higher in winter, which coincides with the seasonality of respiratory viruses such as influenza, RSV or rhinovirus. Thorndike described respiratory illnesses that should be treated as prescribed by a medical professional.
· Bronchiolitis is an acute respiratory illness caused by a virus that affects the bronchioles (the smallest airways in the lungs), usually caused by the seasonal respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). It can affect babies and young children by causing shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing and fever.
· Bronchospasm, or bronchitis, is a respiratory disease that affects the airways and causes inflammation and constriction of the bronchi, manifested by coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing (which may or may not be associated with febrile symptoms). Most children with recurrent bronchospasm episodes usually recover by age 5 or 6, but some may require long-term treatment.
· Pneumonia is caused by an infection of lung tissue caused by bacteria or viruses, causing fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Sometimes, they are associated with chest pain and general discomfort, and due to severity, hospitalization may be required.
Respiratory allergies: allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma
“As for respiratory allergies, the most common ones are allergic rhinitis and allergic asthma. The first usually causes sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and itchy nose, which may be related to eye discomfort. Allergic asthma is triggered by inhaled allergens Cause of recurrent bronchospasm, resulting in coughing, wheezing, and respiratory distress,” Thorndike described. He also reported that the symptoms were triggered by exposure to inhaled substances (allergens) that the child’s immune system considered harmful. For children who frequently develop non-viral respiratory illnesses, the disease is usually suspected from 4-5 years of age, although they may present at younger ages. “Respiratory allergies may be seasonal in the case of pollen, varying based on the seasonality of each pollen’s pollination, often being more uncomfortable in the spring, or they may be perennial, such as mites, pet hair, or pets’ hair allergies to mushrooms. ”, specifically.
Pediatrician Nacho González, who specializes in pediatric pulmonology, details the body’s defenses against frequent or persistent exposure to allergens: “It can be detected in an analysis or a typical allergy test, such as a spot Prick test or allergy skin test, which is done by giving the allergen a vaccine into the arm.” However, the fact that the test is positive or that a specific immunoglobulin for the allergen is present in the analysis does not mean that the child is allergic, but simply Means he is allergic: “That is, his body has a defense against this allergen.” . When symptoms start, we say you have allergies. “Allergies are symptoms, not analysis or testing.”
Protective and therapeutic measures
González says allergic rhinitis can be treated with oral antihistamines to reduce symptoms, or with intranasal corticosteroids when symptoms are more persistent and do not resolve with the above medications. In older adults, pediatricians believe nasal irrigation is necessary to prevent allergens from coming into contact with the nasal skin. Furthermore, as he explains, the treatment of allergic asthma requires the use of fast-acting bronchodilators, which can be combined with inhaled anti-inflammatory drugs (corticosteroids): “This combination allows the bronchi to open rapidly and reduces inflammation”.
As a protective measure, Gonzalez assured that using a mask to protect against seasonal pollen, such as in the spring, can help with both rhinitis and asthma. As an avoidance measure, do not appear in open areas in the morning or evening on days when the pollen count or concentration is high; For people who are sensitive to mites, it is recommended to use anti-mite bedding; Place bedding in the sun to dry, and avoid using carpets, curtains, etc. A place where dust easily accumulates. “The preventive measures we can follow are those we have learned in recent years related to the covid-19 pandemic,” he reiterated. Gonzalez mentioned washing hands frequently, wearing masks, and avoiding contact with people who are sick or have respiratory symptoms. people contact. “If very significant dyspnea is observed,” the expert continued, “it is recommended to consult a pediatrician for evaluation of the child.”
How can I control my child’s asthma?
Most children with asthma can control their symptoms; sometimes, crises are uncommon because they do so well. But understanding asthma—what treatments to use and when, what triggers to avoid and when to use them—can be the most complex part of asthma care.
Don’t lose heart. Learn as much as you can, talk to other people with asthma, read about asthma, and discuss all your concerns with your child’s doctor.
Once you and your family get used to dealing with asthma, it will become a normal part of your daily life. These tips can help you:
· Make a plan and stick to it. Your child should have an asthma action plan. These written instructions from your doctor provide clear step-by-step instructions on which medications to take and when, how to avoid triggers, what to do between one attack and the next, and how to recognize and manage an attack if it occurs. By following this plan, you’ll learn how to care for your child and when to call your pediatrician for help.
· Take medication exactly as prescribed. Most children with asthma need to take medication. Some are medications you take every day (called long-term control medications) to help prevent respiratory tract irritation and inflammation. Other medications are used only during a crisis to help open the airways (rapid relief medications). Some medications can do both at the same time. Most medications should be given using a nebulizer or an inhaler with an inhalation chamber to help the medication reach the lungs. Sometimes medications are given in pill or liquid form. The doctor will tell you what medicine your child needs and how to take it.
· Identify and avoid triggers. Triggers are factors that may affect the airways and cause an asthma attack. Common triggers are allergens such as pollen, mold, weather changes, and viral infections (such as the common cold). Uncovering your child’s triggers may take some effort, but it’s worth it. Your doctor can also help; for example, getting an allergy test if you think it’s causing your asthma to worsen. Once you know what your child’s triggers are, help him avoid them as much as possible.
· Make sure your child has received their COVID-19 vaccine and their annual flu shot. COVID-19 and flu vaccines are recommended for all children over 6 months of age, especially those with asthma. Children with asthma are at risk of developing asthma and more severe illness if they have this type of viral infection.
· Know the signs of crisis. Once your child has had a few seizures, he or she may start to notice that one is about to occur. Early warning signs can help detect a crisis hours or even days before obvious symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, appear. Children may experience changes in their appearance, mood, or breathing, or they may complain that they feel “weird.” Make sure you know your child’s signs and be prepared to adjust his or her medications or give them as needed.
· Know what to do if you encounter a serious crisis. Know when your child’s symptoms require medical attention or a trip to the emergency room (ER). Always have quick-relief medication on hand in case your child needs it; everyone who cares for your child (such as teachers and coaches) should also know how and when to give it.
· Use necessary tools. One way to help predict an upcoming attack is to keep an asthma diary, which records asthma symptoms (when they occur), medication needs, and other information. This can help you understand your child’s early warning signs and can help your child’s doctor understand how well treatments are working. Some families use a peak flow meter, a handheld tool that measures a child’s ability to blow air out of their lungs. It can determine if the airway is narrowed and blocked and if the child is at risk for a seizure.
IRA, high risk in Bolivia
second cause of death
Influenza and pneumonia were a concern in Bolivia long before the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world; both diseases are the second leading cause of death in the country, according to the World Health Organization. Influenza is caused by influenza viruses and can cause severe illness and even death.
The distribution of the most common respiratory diseases in Bolivia over the past two years is as follows: Pneumonia accounted for 35.4%, asthma 0.8%, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 4.1%, diseases affecting the interstitium 26%, and other respiratory diseases 33.7%. The percentages were similar at younger ages.
There is pollution
Approximately 35% of all respiratory-related diseases are related to air pollution in El Alto and 25% in La Paz. In Tarija it is higher than 15%, but due to worsening air quality it rises significantly, especially at this time.