Naples Pediatrics

Pediatrician located in Naples, FL

About 8% of all children in the United States have asthma, a lung disease that must be controlled because it can’t be cured. Dr. Paul Irra at Naples Pediatrics in Naples, Florida, is available to develop an individualized treatment plan for your child’s asthma that will optimize control, minimize attacks, and help ensure your child can fully participate in all their daily activities.

Asthma Q&A

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic condition of the lungs that develops when the small tubes that carry air to the lungs become narrow, irritated, and inflamed. This inflammation makes the tubes oversensitive, so they react to things that don’t usually bother airways. When this happens, the airways spasm, block airflow, and make it hard to breathe.

Any substance, weather condition, or activity that leads to asthma symptoms or an asthma attack can be a trigger:

  • Allergies: Pollen, dust mites, pet dander, molds, cockroaches
  • Infections: Colds, sinus infections
  • Irritants: Secondhand smoke, cold air, air pollution, chemical fumes
  • Activities: Exercise or any activity that puts stress on the lungs

What are the symptoms of asthma?

The severity and frequency of an asthma attack are different for each child. However, children experience the same symptoms:

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing due to extra mucus

Wheezing is the one symptom that’s not always present. Some children just don’t wheeze. For other children, in fact, a lack of wheezing is due to very tight and narrow airways, which is a sign that the asthma attack is worse, not better.

How do the doctors at Naples Pediatrics treat asthma?

One of the most important things for parents to know about asthma is this: The airways are always affected even if your child doesn’t show any symptoms. If your child has asthma, you always need to have an inhaler on hand so that you’re prepared for an asthma attack.

Asthma treatment begins by avoiding triggers and taking certain medications:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications: These medications prevent inflammation in airways, and so reduce asthma attacks.
  • Bronchodilators: There are two types of bronchodilators, which are both inhaled — one is short-acting to treat asthma attacks, the other is long-acting to prevent future attacks.

What steps can parents take to eliminate triggers?

Parents can control the environment inside their home to reduce the allergens or irritants that trigger their child’s asthma. You’re already aware of common irritants, like secondhand smoke, but there are other substances to consider.

Your child’s asthma could be triggered by a variety of unexpected substances:

  • Perfumes
  • Aerosol sprays and room fresheners
  • Cleaning products
  • Cooking gas fumes
  • Scented candles
  • Fresh newsprint
  • Wood smoke from the fireplace
  • Scented laundry detergent, fabric softeners, and dryer sheets

When pollen and dust trigger asthma, it’s a good idea to keep windows closed, run air conditioning on days when pollen is high, and regularly clean air ducts and furnace filters.