March 21, 2019

Children Struggling with Asthma or Allergy Symptoms? Spring for Spirometry

By Amy Trees

Spirometry Testing Spring AllergiesSpring has sprung, which means warmer weather, cherry blossoms and green grass between your toes… oh, and achoo. Welcome to allergy season. Pollens, such as tree, grass and ragweed, are on the rise in our neighborhood, potentially leading to an increase in asthma and allergy symptoms for you and your family.

If your little one has asthma, coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or chest tightness, these can be signs that your child’s asthma is not controlled. A simple spirometry test, will tell you what you need to know.

What Is Spirometry Testing?

Spirometry, the most common lung function test, measures how well the lungs work by measuring how much air can be inhaled and then how quickly the air can be exhaled. To begin the test, children breathe into a mouthpiece attached to a machine called a spirometer, which records the results.

This is done in three easy steps:

  1. Big breath in
  2. Fast breath out
  3. Keep breathing out for as long as possible

The test can measure how much and how fast air is exhaled. Sometimes the test is repeated after taking a medication (bronchodilator) that helps open the airways.

Where Can My Child Get Spirometry Testing?

A family doctor, primary care physician or pediatrician can refer your child to the pulmonary function testing (PFT) lab at Mission Children’s Hospital. At Mission Children’s Hospital, a pediatric pulmonologist will read and interpret the study, followed by recommendations of how to improve treatment.

The PFT lab is staffed with respiratory therapists who specialize in both pediatric care and lung- function testing, and the lab is acknowledged by the American Thoracic Society for adherence in following technical and operating standards on pulmonary function testing.

Amy Trees, RRT, RPFT, AE-C, is a respiratory therapist at Mission Children’s Hospital. Part of the Pediatric Respiratory Care team, Amy and her colleagues provide treatment for breathing and lung disease, including allergies. Mission Children’s Hospital is home to western North Carolina’s only board-certified pediatric pulmonologist. Learn more about the Pediatric Respiratory Care team at Mission Children’s Hospital.

For further information on scheduling spirometry testing, call 828-213-1740.