Raleigh Pediatrics is dedicated to the successful management of asthma and allergy. Because asthma is the most common chronic childhood illness, many patients and families deal with cough and labored breathing on a regular basis. We know that these symptoms can be controlled if parents and children have a good understanding of asthma and the medications used for treatment. Well-controlled asthma means children should have a normal lifestyle, activity and healthy lungs for the future.
Asthma triggers and symptoms are different for each individual. The most common triggers are respiratory infections, allergies, exercise and weather changes. Symptoms of asthma are persistent cough, labored breathing and sometimes audible wheezing.
Pulmonary function testing is recommended by the National Institute of Health’s guidelines for the successful treatment and management of asthma. Spirometry is a type of pulmonary function test that measures the amount and speed of air forced out of the lung. Children are asked to blow down pictures such as candles or the three pigs house. Children four years and older usually perform this test well. They enjoy the “video game” testing and incentives. We ask that children that have inhalers and spacers bring them to the office on the day of testing.
At times, pulmonary function testing is done in conjunction with exercise to determine if difficulty exercising is related to asthma. Doctors will advise parents if exercise challenge testing is necessary. Children having exercise testing should wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes the day of their appointment.
When visiting the office for asthma or allergy education and testing, you will see our Certified Asthma Educator, Deb Kirkland RN. She will spend 30-40 minutes with you and your child. After seeing the “asthma nurse” your child will see the doctor for a brief asthma exam. The doctor will evaluate testing and write prescriptions if needed. Plan to be at the office about one hour. The normal office co-pay will apply to this visit.
For a better understanding as to what will be done at each appointment, please click here.
Deborah Kirkland is an RN and a Certified Asthma Educator with a certification in pulmonary function testing. She has been teaching asthma education for more than 12 years at RPA. She has received awards from the American Lung Association for her work with asthma. She was recognized by the National Respiratory Training Center as a community leader in asthma education and was a founding member of the Wake County Asthma Coalition. For further questions she may be contacted in Raleigh on Monday and Tuesday at 872-0250, ext 337, and in Garner on Wednesday and Thursday at 779-6423, ext. 129.