Better breathing

At The Portland Hospital we diagnose a range of respiratory health conditions and have specialists available to treat everything from asthma to sleep apnoea. Here, our respiratory team explains how you can monitor your child’s health for four paediatric respiratory conditions.
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the lower airways and can be brought on by exercise, infections or by allergens such as dust mites and pollen.
One of the most common symptoms of asthma is wheezing and, as The Portland Hospital’s Consultant Paediatric Allergist, Dr George Du Toit explains,‘children with a ‘persistent wheeze’ that comes on with lower respiratory tract infections, exercise or during the pollen season are extremely likely to have asthma.’
Although, there is no cure for asthma, there are many effective treatments available. Dr Ranjan Suri, Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at The Portland Hospital, advises ‘it is important that children with asthma be managed effectively, as it can significantly effect their quality of life.’
If you are concerned about your child’s wheezing and would like to speak to a respiratory specialist about asthma management options please contact The Portland Hospital Children’s Services Enquiry Line on 020 7390 8020 and speak to an advisor.
Persistent Bacterial Bronchitis
Persistent bacterialbronchitis is an infection of the airways that causes patients to develop a persistent cough. Thankfully, ‘ the vast majority of children with acute coughs have a viral infection, and in most cases this needs no antibiotic treatment’ says Dr Ranjan Suri, Consultant in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine at The Portland Hospital.
However, should your child’s cough persist beyond four to six weeks it should be looked at by a respiratory specialist for further assessment.
Sleep Apnoea
Sleep apnoea is a respiratory condition often caused by tonsils or adenoids partially blocking the airway as the child sleeps and their muscles relax. This can develop because the tonsils or adenoids have become enlarged or simply because they have grown at a faster rate than the airways.
The most common symptoms of sleep apnoea are snoring or momentarily stopping breathing whilst asleep.
Removing the adenoids or tonsils can help to control symptoms of sleep apnoea and both tonsillectomies and adenoidectomies can be carried out at The Portland Hospital’s dedicated Day Case Unit.
Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs. Anyone can contract the disease but as Dr Dionysis Alexandrou, Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist at The Portland Hospital, explains, ‘Unlike many infectious diseases, TB is difficult to catch; only a third of people who are in close contact with a person with active TB will become infected. However, one third of the world’s population (2 billion people) are infected with TB, and of those 10% will become active. Children are particularly vulnerable to TB and tend to get more severe forms, such as TB meningitis.’
Patients with suspected TB may have a persistent cough for more than three weeks that brings up phlegm or blood.
‘BCG is the only vaccine currently available for protection against TB and once administered will stimulate the immune system to protect against TB,’ says Dr Alexandrou.
‘Whilst BCG is currently not recommended for routine immunisation in the UK, it is recommended for infants living in areas with more than 40 cases of TB per 100,000 population per year, as well as those whose parents or grandparents are from countries with at least that incidence,’ he adds.
If you are concerned about your child’s respiratory health and would like to speak to a respiratory specialist at The Portland Hospital please contact the Children’s Services Enquiry Line on 020 7390 8020 and speak to one of our advisors.
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.