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Asthma and Allergies: What’s Making Your Child Cough or Wheeze
Friday, October 13, 2017 - 12 Noon (Eastern Time)

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Meeghan Hart, MD

  • Center for Pediatric Pulmonary Medicine
  • Cleveland Clinic Respiratory Institute

Asthma is the leading cause of chronic illness in children. It affects as many as 10 to 12 percent of children in the U.S. and, for unknown reasons, is steadily increasing. It can begin at any age, but most children have their first symptoms by age 5. Risk factors include a presence of allergies, family history of asthma or allergies, recurrent respiratory infections, low birth weight, exposure to tobacco smoke before or after birth, and more. Please join us and have your pediatric asthma and allergy questions answered by pediatric pulmonologist, Meeghan Hart, MD.

No one really knows why a growing number of children are developing asthma. Some experts suggest that children are being exposed to more and more allergens such as dust, air pollution, and second-hand smoke. Others suspect that children are not exposed to enough childhood illnesses to build up their immune system. And still, others suggest that decreasing rates of breastfeeding have prevented important substances of the immune system from being passed onto babies.

Keep in mind that not all children have the same asthma symptoms and that these symptoms can vary from episode to episode in the same child. Also, note that not all wheezing or coughing is caused by asthma. In kids under 5 years of age, the most common cause of asthma symptoms is upper respiratory viral infections such as the common cold. If your child has problems breathing, take him or her to their primary care provider doctor immediately for an evaluation. He or she then may be referred to a Pediatric Pulmonary Specialist.

Based on your child's history and the severity of asthma, your child's doctor will develop a care plan, called an "asthma action plan." The asthma action plan describes when and how your child should use asthma medications, what to do when asthma gets worse, and when to seek emergency care for your child. Make sure you understand this plan and ask your child's doctor any questions you may have. Your child's asthma action plan is important to successfully control his or her asthma. Keep it handy to remind you of your child's daily asthma management plan, as well as to guide you when your child develops asthma symptoms.

About the Speaker
Meeghan Hart, MD, attained her medical degree from Jacobs School of Medicine in Buffalo, New York, followed by an internship in pediatrics at Women’s Children Hospital of Buffalo shortly after. She then completed her residency in pediatrics with the Women’s Children Hospital of Buffalo as well, and completed her fellowship in pediatric pulmonology with University Hospital Case Medical Center. Dr. Hart joined Cleveland Clinic Children’s staff in 2017.

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