Heat-related illnesses affect people of all ages and can come on suddenly. That’s why at Family Health Care, we want everyone to know how to take care of their bodies when temperatures climb. The more you know about staying cool in the heat, the more protected you’ll be from heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
Are you concerned that your child may have asthma? Treating asthma symptoms as early as possible is important to help your child breathe better. Many parents are concerned about their children and visit Family Health Care to get answers. It’s important for parents to be aware of the early signs and symptoms of childhood asthma because this is a condition that has the potential to be life-threatening. The bright side is that this condition is treatable and the right medications are administered. If you believe your child might have asthma, continue reading to learn more about the earliest warning signs.
Common Asthma Symptoms
The symptoms of this respiratory disease vary from person to person. Some children experience severe symptoms that interfere with their ability to play and participate in sports or other strenuous activities. Other children have milder symptoms and may not have many serious incidents. The symptoms listed below can vary in intensity from child to child:
Shortness of breath
Chest pain or tightening
Coughing, especially at night
Early Warning Signs of an Asthma Attack
While it’s important to get your child seen by a primary care provider, it’s just as important to know how to spot the signs of an asthma attack if your child is diagnosed as asthmatic. Parents who spot the early warning signs can help their child better through the episode and provide the necessary support to help them manage the symptoms and not feel frightened . When you can’t breathe, it’s scary, especially for young children.
If your child has been diagnosed with asthma
stay alert for the following signs that an asthma attack may be imminent:
Feeling tired or weak following exercise
Increased coughing and wheezing
Shortness of breath or losing breath easily
Exhibiting symptoms of an upper respiratory illness such as having a headache, sneezing, feeling congested or having a sore throat
These are general signs of an asthma attack and the subsequent episode could be minor or quite severe. As asthma symptoms worsen, your child may have trouble performing routine daily activities like walking up stairs or walking to the car without feeling out of breath. If your child experiences any of the following symptoms, consult with your primary care provider as soon as possible:
A cough that refuses to go away
Increased shortness of breath
Quick-relief medications such as your child’s rescue inhaler that doesn’t relieve the symptoms
When asthma symptoms continue to worsen, it’s not unusual for children to feel anxious, find it difficult to talk, and have a pale, sweaty face.
Work Closely with Your Child’s Primary Care Provider
Childhood asthma is a serious condition, but it’s treatable. In fact, when parents work closely with their child’s primary care provider to develop a plan, it makes it easier to anticipate and handle a serious asthma attack when it happens.
Do you have a child whom you think has the early signs and symptoms of asthma? Contact Family Health Care for affordable family health care.
As an immigrant, one initially experiences multiple barriers: language differences, cultural shock, limited career path, and sometimes, most importantly, is access to health care.
Over a hundred years ago, Dr. Booker T. Washington proposed the idea of observing a week in April to focus on minority health. When Dr. Washington started this idea in 1915, the call was for schools, health departments and businesses of influential organizations to promote health care equality to close the gap of disparity among the African- American population.
Since then, various other race and ethnic groups have experienced their own difficulties, disparities, and inequalities. Based on Modern Medicine Network statistics, Hispanic populations suffer a greater risk of cervical cancer, a higher chance of diabetes and obesity, and more frequent hospitalizations from asthma, even for little children. South Pacific Islanders have an increase in occurrences of breast, gastric, ovarian, and lung cancers, leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. African American populations have higher incidences of hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disease, all of which seemed to be tied together since one is a risk factor to another.
Again, these disparities of higher incidents of diseases in specific populations seem to have a common thread: a lack of preventative health care. As said before, limited access to health care appears to be the main driving-force creating the disparity between different groups of populations. Fixing the system of limited health care for some seems like a goal that cannot be won. That may be true in some sense. We may not be able to solve the larger disparity, but we can change our own personal situations and families first. This starts the ripple effect of improving our community and beyond.
In honor of continuing the desire of Dr. Washington and in promoting the health of minority ethnic groups, the Department of Health and Human Services has proposed this year to improve our health by increasing physical activities.
Obesity, cardiovascular disease and even cancer seem to all have a common prevention – Let’s Get Moving!
Not the kind of moving where we move out of this changing Michigan weather, but increasing our physical activities. There are many barriers to improving our physical activities such as working long hours at a job causing fatigue, depression causing a lack of motivation, chronic illness or joint pain causing a fear of pain to move. Of course, weather plays a huge factor by giving us an unfriendly winter when even something as simple as walking becomes difficult and unpleasant.
However, unless it seems like an impossible battle to fight, it wouldn’t be called fighting at all. So, let’s fight. Let’s fight for our health and our bodies. Let’s fight for our ethnicity and culture. Dr. Washington spoke of his people and all people: “Without health and long life, all else fails.”
So, let’s start moving just a little more than before, whether it is merely parking further away when shopping so that you have to walk a bit longer, taking the stairs instead of elevators, or going on a walk around the yard with your kids. It starts small, but it has the potential to grow big if we fight for it.
Studies reported in the Journal of American Physician Assistant show that even just 150 minutes of exercise a week can reduce mortality and morbidities especially after someone has gone through cancer. That means a person who has experienced cancer, and now exercises, will be less likely to have the cancer return.
That is only 30 minutes of exercise five times per week. 30 minutes can go by very fast especially if you are having fun with your exercise buddy. This can be another opportunity to develop deeper friendships or get to know your neighbors better. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, your health care providers will be more than happy to discuss your own tailored regime of exercise and physical activities that would benefit you. It is a dream for a health care provider to hear, “I want to fight for my health with physical activity.”
As an immigrant myself who has known the hardships of health care; I can honestly say that is my dream. My name is Soomin Han and I am a Physician Assistant practicing family/internal medicine at Family Health Care. My goal is to have my patients and my community know that I care and I am their biggest cheerleader in fighting for their health.
“My child has what?” I have to admit, as a medical provider, I feel I should have known more about autism. My child was 18 months old, wasn’t talking, and wouldn’t turn her head to look at me if I yelled her name from only a few feet away. After ruling out a hearing issue, her pediatrician referred her for further evaluation at a children’s hospital downstate. She was evaluated by a speech therapist, a behaviorist and a child psychologist, all in one day. Their conclusion: autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.
As a medical provider, it made sense. However, as a parent, I didn’t want to admit that my child was anything but perfect. That quickly changed. I had taken care of a few patients with diagnosed autism, but my daughter didn’t have some of the same characteristics that these patients had. I went from knowing what autism was and how it was generally diagnosed to resident expert (in my mind) in a very short period of time. Then an interesting thing happened. My son, who is 18 months older than my daughter, started talking at an expected age. He never had any signs of hearing issues and would turn his head to look in my direction if I called his name. However, he lacked eye contact, was socially awkward compared to peers, and required strict adherence to patterns. Something just wasn’t “normal,” whatever that is. I initially thought, he only has an attention problem (which he does). After learning as much as I could about ASD, I started to strongly suspect that he had the condition as well. My son eventually went through the same testing and was given the same diagnosis.
The description of what my family went through over two years is used to highlight a couple of things. One is that every child is an individual and should be treated as such. A given condition, especially those in mental health, can present with a wide range of symptoms. Second, and just as important, is to hopefully increase awareness of autism in the general public. Since my ASD journey began, I have played a part in diagnosing several children and adolescents with the condition. I don’t know if it was “meant to be”, but that argument has often been hard to refute.
Autism spectrum disorder has become the fastest growing developmental disorder in the United States. In 2000, the CDC estimated that 1 in 150 children had autism. The most recent statistics estimate that number to be between 1 in 40 and 1 in 59 children. The increase in the prevalence of autism has been mostly attributed to improvements in screening and diagnosis of the disorder. It affects all racial and ethnic backgrounds and is about four times more likely to occur in boys than in girls
As one might imagine, there are several signs and symptoms of autism. When a child is first seen by a primary care provider, we start to look for signs of developmental or communication challenges. We observe how your child laughs, looks to you for reassurance, tries to regain your attention during a conversation, points or waves, responds to his or her name, or cries. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends screening for autism at the 18 and 24 month well child visits. This is most commonly done using the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, or M-CHAT. A positive screen can indicate the need for further evaluation. It is important to note that a normal screen does not rule out the diagnosis of autism or other developmental disorders. There is an online form of this that can be accessed by anyone at www.m-chat.org.
The treatment of ASD requires a comprehensive approach. Because individuals with ASD have varying degrees of impairment in social and behavioral function, management needs to be tailored to the child’s age and specific needs. The goals are to maximize functioning, move the child toward independence, and improve quality of life. There is increasing evidence that intervention is most effective when initiated as early as possible. A notable treatment approach for those with ASD is applied behavior analysis (ABA), which encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors to improve a variety of skills. Speech therapy and occupational therapy are often used to target specific deficits as well. While no medication specifically treats autism, medications can be used to treat common coexisting conditions/symptoms, such as hyperactivity, inattention, aggression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, depressive symptoms, and sleep dysfunction. To any parent who has concerns about possible developmental issues, autism, etc. with your child, the best advice I can give is this: Be an advocate for your child. Your concerns should be heard and addressed. Make an appointment with your child’s primary care provider and have an assessment done. Again, the earlier a diagnosis is made, the earlier treatment may be able to be started. I was lucky enough to be able to do so for my children at an earlier than average age. Since beginning to understand the things that they struggle with, it has made every milestone that much more significant. I like to say that my children are not just autistic. They are so much more, with their own strengths and weaknesses. They are children who happen to have autism. They are my world.
One of the best ways to protect your children from preventable disease is to visit their pediatrician regularly and have them vaccinated when it is appropriate. Getting your children vaccinated is necessary for more than school admission. In addition to providing your child’s vaccine record to their school’s student health office, your child needs to be protected from several contagious diseases.