Children older than 6 months should receive an influenza vaccination every year. Children older than 2 years should also receive at least one dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccination.
Patients with asthma and chronic allergic rhinitis may need daily medications. Patients with severe seasonal allergies may need to start taking medications a few weeks before the pollen season, and to continue them until the season is over.
Immunotherapy ("allergy shots") may help reduce asthma symptoms, and the use of asthma medications, in patients with known allergies. They may also help prevent the development of asthma in children with allergies. Immunotherapy poses some risk for severe allergic reactions, especially for children with poorly controlled asthma, so it is important that the doctor carefully evaluates the childā ' s asthma condition.
Children with obvious symptoms of reflux or children who have difficulty managing asthma may consider the following lifestyle changes:
Alternative therapies are widely used by children, adolescents, and adults with asthma. In one study, nearly half of asthma or allergy sufferers resorted to alternative treatments. To date, however, evidence does not support most alternative therapies, including high-dose vitamins, urine injections, homeopathic remedies, and most herbal remedies.
Relaxation and Stress-Reduction Techniques. Patients report benefits from many stress reduction and physical techniques, such as acupuncture, hypnosis, breathing relaxation techniques, the Alexander technique, massage therapy, and meditation. There have been very few well-conducted studies supporting their use, however.
Breathing Exercises. Breathing exercises may help improve patientsā ' quality of life even if they do not have a major impact on medication reduction.
Probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial microbes that some believe may help protect against allergies and asthma. Probiotics can be obtained in active yogurt cultures and in supplements, which are being studied for protection. However, evidence to date does not support efficacy in preventing or treating asthma.
Herbal Remedies. Few rigorous studies have evaluated herbal remedies for asthma. Manufacturers of herbal remedies and dietary supplements do not need FDA approval to sell their products. Just like a drug, herbs and supplements can affect the body's chemistry, and therefore have the potential to produce side effects that may be harmful. There have been a number of reported cases of serious and even lethal side effects from herbal products. Always check with your doctor before using any herbal remedies or dietary supplements.
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Greer FR, Sicherer SH, Burks AW; American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition; American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Allergy and Immunology. Effects of early nutritional interventions on the development of atopic disease in infants and children: the role of maternal dietary restriction, breastfeeding, timing of introduction of complementary foods, and hydrolyzed formulas. Pediatrics. 2008 Jan;121(1):183-91.
Kukkonen K, Savilahti E, Haahtela T, Juntunen-Backman K, Korpela R, Poussa T, et al. Probiotics and prebiotic galacto-oligosaccharides in the prevention of allergic diseases: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2007 Jan;119(1):192-8. Epub 2006 Oct 23.
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel Report 3: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Rockville, MD. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2007. NIH publications 08-4051.
Stern DA, Morgan WJ, Halonen M, Wright AL, Martinez FD. Wheezing and bronchial hyper-responsiveness in early childhood as predictors of newly diagnosed asthma in early adulthood: a longitudinal birth-cohort study. Lancet. 2008 Sep 20;372(9643):1058-64.
Vliagoftis H, Kouranos VD, Betsi GI, Falagas ME. Probiotics for the treatment of allergic rhinitis and asthma: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2008 Dec;101(6):570-9.
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