1 out of every 6 children have asthma in the San Joaquin Valley. The number of people with asthma, the rate of asthma related emergency department visits, and asthma related hospitalizations are all higher in the San Joaquin Valley.
Asthma accounts for over 10 million lost school days per year, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and millions of emergency department visits. Asthma accounts for 3,400 deaths per year.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs causing wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness and night and early morning coughing. An asthma attack happens when the sides of the airways that carries air to your lungs swell, the airway becomes smaller, less air gets in and out of your lungs and the symptoms described above may occur.
Asthma is a serious disease and is a serious problem for many people in the San Joaquin Valley & Bay Area.
Is your family doctor or pediatrician the right doctor to treat your asthma?
There is no cure for asthma today however with the right treatment asthma is controllable and selecting the right doctor is critical to effectively managing your, or your child’s, asthma. Is your family doctor or pediatrician the right doctor to treat your asthma? These doctors are important to help identify asthma however for ongoing treatment an allergist is your best option. An allergist is a physician who specializes in the treatment of asthma and other allergic diseases and has special training to help patients manage allergy and asthma triggers. Allergists have access to the latest clinical findings to help you properly manage your asthma.
According to a study by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, patients receiving asthma management treatment from an allergist typically see:
- Prevention of all or most asthma attacks
- Fewer emergency care visits and hospitalizations
- Fewer missed school and work days
- Less need for quick-relief medicines
- Participation in more activities such as exercise
For ongoing asthma treatment, an Allergist is your best option
An asthma management plan from your allergist may include use of a peak flow meter. A peak flow meter is a device designed to measure how well your lungs are able to expel air. Allergists use the results of the peak from meter to determine if your current plan is working or if your airway is narrowing and whether or not to adjust your medication.
here’s a video from the St Louis Children’s hospital showing the use of a peak flow meter
Another tool your allergist may prescribe is a nebulizer. A nebulizer changes medication from liquid to a mist so that it can be easily inhaled into the lungs. Nebulizers are particularly effective for delivering asthma medications to infants and small children who might have difficulty using an asthma inhaler. Nebulizers are available in home and portable models, some are battery powered or can even be powered by a car cigarette lighter outlet. Your allergist will advise you whether or not a nebulizer is right for you.
Here’s a video from Nationwide Childrens Hospital in Columbus demonstrating the use of a nebulizer
An allergist will also discuss common asthma triggers in the home such as tobacco smoke, dust mites, outdoor air pollution, pets, mold and other triggers such as smoke from a fireplace or the smoke we saw from this summer’s Rough Fire.
The physicians at Baz Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center are board certified in allergy and immunology which includes certification in asthma treatment and management. We have offices in the Bay Area and throughout the San Joaquin Valley click here for our locations. For those outside this area the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology has a handy “Find an Allergist” tool that can be found here: http://acaai.org/locate-an-allergist
Reference materials contributing to this article:
Hernandez VR,Sulton P, Curtis K, Carabez RStruggling to
breathe: The epidemic of asthma among children and adolescents
in the San Joaquin Valley.
Central California Children’s
Institute; 2004. http://www.csufresno.edu/ccchhs/documents/childrens_institute/asthma.pdf. Accessed February 25, 2011.
San Joaquin County Asthma Profile Feb 2, 2015
National asthma statistics
Asthma management and the Allergist
Asthma management and the allergist
American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Peak flow meter
Common asthma triggers
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention