A Parent’s Guide to Managing Kids’ Asthma During the Fall

SATURDAY, Oct. 12, 2019 — Fall can be a challenging time of the year for kids with asthma, an expert says.

“Although asthma can flare up for a number of reasons, a lot of people with allergies also have asthma, and asthma can be triggered by allergies. So the fall is a tough time for asthmatic sufferers,” said Dr. Gaurav Kumar, a pediatrician at LifeBridge Health in Baltimore.

While many kids do well with their asthma during the summer, problems often accompany the return to school.

“You go from taking these outdoor summer vacations to now being in a classroom again,” Kumar explained. “So now you’re in contact with people in closed spaces. And of course, what happens is germs are more likely to spread that way. So you could get colds from friends who have colds, and then that becomes a trigger for asthma.”

Parents need to make sure their child’s asthma is under control. If a child stopped taking preventive asthma medications regularly during the summer, they should resume daily use now, Kumar advised.

Children with asthma should have checkups at least once a year, and in some cases as often as three or four times a year.

“An asthma checkup is an opportunity for us to reassess how the year has gone and to make plans in anticipation of what might happen,” Kumar said in a LifeBridge Health news release.

A flu shot is also important, because kids with asthma are at high risk for serious flu-related complications. Asthma is the most common medical condition among children hospitalized with the flu.

Flu vaccine is “very safe” in children with asthma and “will not cause any negative effects to trigger asthma attacks,” Kumar said.

More information

The American Lung Association offers advice for parents of children with asthma.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: October 2019

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Managing MS

FRIDAY, March 22, 2019 — Proper treatment can help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) contend with their disease, an expert says.

“Patients get a predisposed feeling that their life is doomed. That it’s going to be a complicated life, which isn’t necessarily so,” said Dr. Cary Twyman, a neurologist at Penn State Health.

“There are many misconceptions and false information about MS on the internet, so I make sure that each of my patients properly understands what the disease is, how it occurs and the different courses MS can take,” he said in a Penn State news release.

In MS, the immune system attacks the brain, optic nerve and spinal cord. Common symptoms include: numbness or tingling in the face, body or arms and legs; pain; fatigue; walking difficulties; muscle spasms; general weakness; vision problems; and dizziness or vertigo.

Most people with MS are diagnosed between ages 20 and 50, and at least twice as many women as men are diagnosed with the disease.

“MS manifests itself in the prime of these individuals’ lives,” Twyman said. “These people are usually at the ages where raising a family, finding a steady job and creating different purposes in their lives is a priority. This disorder disrupts that.”

And the numbers have been increasing. “Incidents of MS have doubled since our last census. More than 800,000 people have been diagnosed in the U.S. alone, with approximately 10,000 new cases diagnosed every year, but there has been less misdiagnosis or people going undiagnosed,” Twyman said.

Finding a treatment that targets the malfunctioning immune system should occur immediately after diagnosis.

“We had an explosion of drugs to treat MS, where we used to have none,” Twyman noted. “There are now 15 different drugs for people with MS.”

Choosing the right drug for a patient depends on a number of factors such as: tolerance to the risk of the drug; the cost of the drug, and how closely the patient needs to be monitored on the drug.

Caring for MS patients has become a team effort, Twyman added.

“It’s no longer a physician-only approach to treat MS,” he said. “It now involves a team that pays attention to an individual’s medical and nonmedical needs to help with their wellness as they live with MS. This team may include nurses, dietitians, social workers and therapists, including the specialties of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and cognitive and behavioral management.”

Twyman also identified steps patients can take. Quality of life can be improved by healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular exercise, reducing stress and not smoking.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on multiple sclerosis.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: March 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

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