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Copyright 2017 Davis Square Family Practice
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260 Elm Street #105
Somerville, MA 02144
(617) 666-9577
Fax (617) 666-3190
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Davis Square Family Practice
Office Hours
Monday - Thursday
8am to 6pm
8am - 5pm
Deborah Bershel, MD
Michelle Clark, NP
Carmen Phillips, NP
"Call our office to receive logon credentials."
Barbara Kaplan, LICSW
Andrea Dandridge, NP
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Asthma - How Can I Tell if my child has it?

Signs and Symptoms to look for include:

Frequent coughing spells. It is important to know that
  coughing may be the only symptom
Less energy during the day
Rapid breathing
Complaint of chest tightness or chest "hurting"
Whistling sound (wheezing) when breathing in or out
Shortness of breath, loss of breath
Tightened neck and chest muscles
Feelings of weakness or tiredness

Risk Factors for developing childhood asthma:
Presence of allergies
Family history of asthma and/or allergies
Frequent respiratory infections
Low birth weight
Exposure to tobacco smoke before and/or after birth
Being male
Being black
Being raised in a low income environment

Asthma - What to do when your child has asthma

Is there anything I can do to help my child avoid asthma attacks? 
You can help your child avoid asthma attacks by keeping him or her away from triggers that can start an asthma attack.
Here are examples of triggers:
Cigarette smoke is a major lung irritant and promoter of asthma through direct and second-hand smoke
Inside the house, dust mites and mold are the biggest allergen problems
Some children are allergic to animal dander (dry skin, feathers and fur bits-
   please remember that once you bring a pet home it may be emotionally difficult for the family to give her up.
   If you suspect animal sensitivities consider testing your child first or getting a non-shedding pet)

Pollen is the biggest problem outdoors
Exercise (we of course encourage exercise)/emotional stress/ sinusitis and other infections can trigger asthma 
Cold air

How can I keep my child away from these asthma triggers?

You can reduce the asthma triggers in your home by following these steps:

1.  Don't smoke cigarettes, pipes or cigars in your home or allow anyone else to smoke there.
     Help your child stay away from cigarette smoke in other places. Teach your child never to smoke.

  Cover your child's mattress, pillows. and box spring with an airtight vinyl or nylon case that zips shut.
3.  Remove carpets from your home, and use a damp mop to clean linoleum or wood floors.
     You may use throw rugs that can be machine washed
4.  Instead of drapes and cloth-covered furniture, use washable curtains or vinyl shades and furniture you can wipe
     with a damp cloth, especially in your child's bedroom.

5.  Wash sheets, blankets and pillows, throw rugs and stuffed animals often, using hot water to kill dust mites.
6.  Use pillows or comforters filled with polyester instead of feathers.
7.  Use cotton or acrylic blankets that can be machine washed. Don't use wool blankets unless they can be machine washed.
8.  Keep the humidity in your house below 50 percent when possible. Dust mites and mold grow best in damp areas.
     You may have to use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner to keep the humidity low.

9.  Wipe bathroom surfaces with a solution of bleach and water, and use bleach to clean in the basement and
     other damp areas to reduce mold and mildew. Try to keep fresh air flowing into these areas, and use a dehumidifier
     to keep the air dry.

10. Try not to have pets with fur or feathers, or at least keep them out of your child's bedroom.
      If you have cats or dogs, shampoo and brush them often.

11. Keep your child's bedroom windows closed to keep pollen out.
12. Use a clothes dryer instead of hanging the laundry outside, to keep pollen from getting on clothes and sheets.
13. Don't smoke cigarettes, pipes or cigars in your home or allow anyone else to smoke there.
      Help your child stay away from cigarette smoke in other places. Teach your child never to smoke.

This information is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians
Modified by Deborah Bershel, MD 1/2010