A pediatric pulmonology specialist commonly treats asthma, a chronic respiratory ailment that causes inflammation of the airways. Doctors often see allergies and asthma together. Irritants such as pollen, volatile chemicals or pet dander can trigger asthma. For this reason, these doctors not only treat a child's asthma symptoms, but they work to figure out the triggers.
Bronchitis, both chronic and acute, involves inflammation of the airways. Chronic bronchitis is an infection that produces excess mucus and a productive cough. The chronic inflammation and accompanying cough can cause serious damage if left untreated. Acute bronchitis is a short-term case that generally follows a viral infection. This type of bronchitis also affects children who are constantly exposed to smoke or who have a preexisting lung or heart disease.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects the regulation of salt, water and the mucus-making cells of the body. It is both chronic and progressive. Children with this disease are born with a genetic abnormality that causes their body to produce thickened mucus. This causes problems in many body systems, including the respiratory and digestive organs.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a highly contagious virus that causes infection in the lungs and breathing passages. Children at high risk for this virus receive a monthly injection to prevent them from contracting it during the peak RSV seasons of fall and winter.
When any of these disorders are present, poorly managed or severe, the child's pediatrician can issue a referral to a specialist. A recommendation can provide the child with more intensive, complex therapy. The relatively few specialists in this field may mean that travel is required to see a physician. In such cases, in particular, specialists could work with pediatricians to give the best possible care for the child.