Dr. Rosemary Leonard answers a question on asthma in the company of Emma Howard.
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Host: Hello! We're answering questions on health and medical problems. I am joined by Dr. Rosemary Leonard, Hello! Dr. Rosemary Leonard: Hello! Host: Rosemary, I have got a question from a mom, who took her young son to play football in the park and after a little while, she says he became short of breath and started wheezing. She wants to know could he be Asthmatic? Dr. Rosemary Leonard: The answer is, yes, he might be, but it might be he has just caught a bit of a cold which has made him a bit wheezy. The other thing he could have is what we call Exercise-Induced Asthma, which is when you run around then your airways become narrowed. Really, the diagnosis for this depends on how he responds to a medication to widen his airways, and if he finds that he always gets a little bit wheezy and breathless when he does exercise and then if you give him an inhaler, which widens airways and that relieves it, it does suggest that he has got asthma. Then what you need to do is see how much he is affected at other times when he is not exercising. If you've got a child, who is just wheezing when they exercise then it's alright to use an airway-widening inhaler. But if he appears to be getting wheezy other times, he may need a second inhaler which acts as a preventer and that type of inhaler you use all the time, not just when he is doing exercise. Host: And that's of course is more serious asthma. Dr. Rosemary Leonard: Yes, it is more serious. Generally asthma, now a days you aim to use the reliever medications which widens the airways as a little as possible. The only exception to that is Exercise-Induced Asthma, where you just say, use it before you do your exercise. Host: So you'd have to watch your child and see if they have that symptom every time they run around. Dr. Rosemary Leonard: Yes, I mean the other thing to do is to watch out, see, if he is coughing at night time because a common thing that asthma has, not wheezing at night time but just a night time cough. So look out for other symptoms, and go and discuss it either with the GP or with the Practice Nurse because most Practice Nurses now are experts on Asthma. Host: That's interesting because we always think of going to the doctor first, we are not using the Practice Nurse as much as we should. Dr. Rosemary Leonard: Yeah, practice nurses are very good with children and asthma, and they give them lots of advice about using the inhalers properly and also measuring how badly the asthma is affecting, and they actually teach them how to measure their air-flow. Host: Oh, very good advise as usual, thank you Rosemary! Well, if you have a similar problem, we hope we might have given you some help, but remember it's always best to go and see your own doctor for medical advice. Thanks for watching, we'll be back with more health questions and answers.