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Have you ever taken your child to the Emergency Room to get the diagnosis of an upper respiratory infection? Before getting too alarmed, remember that this is another name for the common cold. There are more than 200 serologically different causative agents, the most common being rhinoviruses, coronaviruses, parainfluenza virus, enteroviruses, adenovirus, influenza virus A and B, respiratory syncytial virus, and group A streptococci.

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What is asthma? I'm so glad you asked. Asthma is the most common chronic illness in children, affecting 5%-10% of children in the United States. 1 in 6 African American children are diagnosed with asthma. Children with asthma suffer from the triad of airway inflammation, smooth muscle hyper-reactivity, and reversible airway obstruction.

Numerous triggers can precipitate an asthma flare up, including upper respiratory tract infections, sinus infections, exercise, exposure to cold air, weather changes, exposure to aeroallergens (e.g., dust, cockroaches, animal dander, pollen, grass), exposure to strong odors (e.g., cigarette smoking, strong chemicals), and emotional states (e.g., fear, laughing, crying). Yes, a laugh attack can affect your child's asthma.

Wheezing is the classic presentation of asthma, but other symptoms include chronic coughing (cough variant asthma), shortness of breath, and chest pain or tightness. Please see your child's primary care physician if your child is having any of these symptoms.

For most patient's with asthma, ideal therapy includes the us...

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