Why You Should See a Pulmonologist for Your Child’s Breathing Problems

child getting checked at the pulmonologist in newport beach for breathing problems

When it comes to your child’s breathing problems, pediatric pulmonologists are the experts. They can prescribe medication, perform procedures to help treat your child’s respiratory condition and work with you to learn how to manage the symptoms of breathing problems. Visiting a pediatric pulmonologist can significantly help your child breathe easier and improve their quality of life.

Reasons to See a Pediatric Pulmonologist

When your child is having breathing problems, a pediatric pulmonologist can conduct various tests to evaluate your child’s lungs and determine what type of treatment they may need.

For instance, the Pulmonary Function Test (PFT) shows how well your child’s lungs work. It’s a noninvasive test that can show how much air your child breathes in and out and helps to diagnose lung complications.

To diagnose chronic lung illness, a pediatric pulmonologist may perform other procedures such as chest imaging, spirometry, blood tests, bronchoscopies, sleep studies, and CT scans.

Who Should See a Pediatric Pulmonologist?

A pediatric pulmonologist can treat newborns, children, adolescents, and even young adults with chronic respiratory diseases, acute respiratory diseases, and breathing and coughing difficulties.

When to See a Pediatric Pulmonologist

If you want to know if your kid needs to see a pediatric pulmonologist, use this quick assessment below. You may need to set an appointment if you answer yes to any of the questions.

Does your child:

  • Cough more than twice a month, on average?
  • Cough more than twice a week?
  • Cough while exercising or running?
  • Use albuterol regularly (weekly or even monthly)?
  • Experience symptoms despite daily asthma medication (Flovent, Singulair, Advair)?
  • Always get admitted to the hospital due to an asthma attack?
  • Taken more than two oral steroid courses (prednisone/orapred) for asthma or croup in the past year?
  • Always have a congested nose?
  • Breathe too fast?
  • Have a hard time breathing?
  • Appear to always have respiratory infections (viral or bacterial)?
  • Breathe noisily? Or does it sound raspy or rattling?
  • Snore or is unable to sleep?
  • Have difficulty staying awake during the day or exhibit signs of “excessive” hyperactivity?
  • Been given many diagnoses of pneumonia?
  • Have a history of recurrent croup?
  • Make an unusual noise when taking a breath?
  • Stop or pause breathing when awake or asleep?
  • Have asthma or sickle cell disease?
  • Have cystic fibrosis or tested positive for cystic fibrosis as a newborn?
  • Have neuromuscular stiffness or spasticity?
  • Have they experienced pneumonia?
  • Have difficulty gaining weight?
  • Have scoliosis or is having progressive scoliosis?

What to Expect From a Visit to the Pulmonologist

The best way to prepare for your appointment is to have a list of questions about your child’s symptoms. Some helpful questions are:

  • What is causing my child’s symptoms?
  • Is there anything my child or I’m doing that’s exacerbating the symptoms?
  • What types of examinations does my child need, and what do they involve?
  • What do these exams reveal?
  • Are there other options for treatment? What can my child take?
  • What are the success rates for treatments?
  • When will I be able to tell if a treatment is effective for my child?
  • What potential dangers and side effects are there?
  • Who should I contact if any side effects arise?
  • Does my child need to stay away from anything during treatment?
  • How frequently should my child’s condition be checked?
  • What could happen if my child’s treatment is put off or if we refuse treatment?

The pediatric pulmonologist will also ask you about your child’s medical history, including any previous breathing problems, illnesses, or allergies, so you will want to have those on hand. 

Take the appointment as a chance to describe your child’s symptoms in detail, as it can help the doctor determine what tests are needed and if other specialists should be involved in diagnosis and treatment.