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:

MinuteClinic:

152 Front St, Ponte Vedra, FL 32082

430 State Road 13, Jacksonville, FL 32259

2703 N Ponce De Leon Blvd, St Augustine, FL 32084

CVS/pharmacy:

152 Front St., Ponte Vedra, FL 32082    

1920 A1a South, Saint Augustine, FL 32080   

175 State Rd 312, Saint Augustine, FL 32086    

46 East Watson Rd, Saint Augustine, FL 32086

2703 N. Ponce Deleon Blvd., Saint Augustine, FL 32084        

57 Tuscan Way, Saint Augustine, FL 32092

430 Sr 13, Jacksonville, FL 32259      

2680 Race Track Rd., Saint Johns, FL 32259

Publix Pharmacy:

220 Front Street, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082    

3777 Palm Valley Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082

1033 A1a Beach Blvd., St Augustine, FL 32080    

300 Health Park Blvd, Suite 1002, St. Augustine, FL 32086

4255 Us 1 South, St. Augustine, FL 32086

125 Jenkins Street, St Augustine, FL 32086

55 Ava Way, St. Augustine, FL 32084

955 State Rd 16, St Augustine, FL 32084    

120 Marketside Ave., Ponte Vedra, FL 32081

3777 Palm Valley Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082     

7462 Us Hwy 1 North, St. Augustine, FL 32095       

84 Tuscan Way, St Augustine, FL 32092

450 State Road 13 Suit 109, Saint Johns, FL 32259

2750 Racetrack Road, Saint Johns, FL 32259

Walgreens:

860 A1A N, Ponte Vedra, FL 32082-3212     

3975 A1a S, Saint Augustine, FL 32080-6933    

2075 Us Highway 1 S, Saint Augustine, FL 32086-6000

116 Blackford Way, St Augustine, FL 32086-1876

2801 N Ponce De Leon Blvd, St Augustine, FL 32084-1648

5445 State Road 16, Saint Augustine, FL 32092-0617

390 State Road 13, Jacksonville, FL 32259    

105 Julington Plaza Dr, Jacksonville, FL 32259

Walmart Supercenter #579:

2355 Us Highway 1 S, St Augustine, FL 32086

CareSpot Urgent Care of St. Augustine:

2095 Us Hwy 1 S, St. Augustine, FL 32086

Walmart Neighborhood Market #5819:

445 State Rd 13, Fruit Cove, FL 32259    

Winn-Dixie:

220 County Rd 210 W Ste 200, Jacksonville, FL 32259 • 3904-823-2171    

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