Introducing our new monthly feature, Ask the Doctor. Our healthcare partners will be answering your questions. To submit a question, please email [email protected].

Dr. Meredith Brazell, DO

Dr. Brazell is a Pediatrician at Flagler Health+ Primary Care and Pediatrics at Palencia, 120 Palencia Village Drive, Suite 107, (904) 819-3200

How can parents tell if their child has allergies? What course of action should they take?

Allergies can have a variety of signs. One sign is our “salute” sign – if a child is constantly sneezing or having an itchy nose, they will push up constantly on their nose to rub it and create a dark crease above the nose and we call that the “salute” sign. Another sign is what we call “allergic shiners”– dark circles under the eyes that can be caused by pooling of blood or fluid under the eyes. This is actually coming from swelling of the tissue around the nose. Red, watery, or itchy eyes are also another sign of allergies. Sometimes, drainage goes back to our throat and we get tickling in our throat or a constant cough trying to clear that drainage. Even the ears can get itchy or feel full. Allergies usually correspond with a season – some children have them in the winter and some in the summer or some flare every time a season changes. We know they are allergies verses a cold due to their mild symptoms and no fever. Either way, parents should bring their child in to be evaluated by their doctor because there are some ways to help allergies, such as a cold mist humidifier at night, saline nose sprays, changing pillow cases or allergy medications like Zyrtec, Claritin or others. It is also important to have a doctor help decide between symptoms caused by allergies versus an illness. Allergies can also cause a child that has asthma to have flare ups so a doctor will also want to discuss how to handle this.

Does my child have asthma? What should I be looking for? Can I treat this myself?

Asthma can be a hard diagnosis to make and should be determined by the pediatrician or sometimes an asthma/allergy specialist. It can be present in obvious ways such as wheezing or difficulty breathing but it can also be present as fatigue, tight chest, or even trouble with feeding. There is cough-variant asthma and exercise-induced asthma as well. The best thing to do is to keep a diary of your child’s symptoms, when it started, what was happening when it started, how long it lasts, and what made it better or worse. Present this diary to your physician. Treatment usually requires medication that only a physician can prescribe.

Carey Smith, RRT, registered respiratory therapist and lead asthma educator for THE PLAYERS Center for Child Health at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

Asthma is the number-one reason children miss school and the third leading cause of pediatric hospitalizations. It is important to know if your child has asthma.

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways characterized by inflammation, tightness in the chest and increased mucus production. Scientists do not know what causes asthma, but it is likely due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be controlled.

Common warning signs and symptoms of asthma include:

  Coughing at night

  Wheezing

  Shortness of breath

  Tummy aches

  Sneezing

A child can go for weeks, months or even years with no warning signs and then have an episode. Even when a child is not having symptoms, he or she still has asthma. It is important to know your child’s warning signs.

Every child is different, so their signs and symptoms may be different as well. Always have an updated asthma action plan. These action plans should be discussed with your child’s doctor and an updated plan should be provided to your child’s school.

Find your flu vaccine:

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each fall. Find your flu vaccine at your doctor’s office or these locations:

Flagler County Health Dept.-DOH Flagler County:

301 Dr. Carter Blvd Blvd, Bunnell, FL 32110 • 386-437-7350

Publix Pharmacy:

250 Palm Coast Pkwy Ne Bldg 1000, Palm Coast, FL
4950 Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast, FL 32137   
800 Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast, FL 32164
414 Beach Village Dr., Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Walgreens:

215 Palm Coast Pkwy Ne, Palm Coast, FL 32137-8218
1109 Palm Coast Pkwy Sw, Palm Coast, FL 32137-4704     

MinuteClinic:

1 Old Kings Rd, Palm Coast, FL 32137    

CVS/pharmacy:

1 Old Kings Road South, Palm Coast, FL 32137   

5151 Belle Terre Pkwy, Palm Coast, FL 32137

Walmart:

174 Cypress Point Pkwy, Palm Coast, FL 32164 • 386-445-7548    

Winn-Dixie:

1260 W. Palm Coast Parkway, Palm Coast, FL 32137 • 386-446-4699

CVS/pharmacy in Target Store:

5100 E Hwy 100, Palm Coast, FL 32164 • 386-313-3952

Parent Magazine