Seeing the Whole Picture

November 28, 2018

 Jackson Boy’s Constant Cycle of Illness ends thanks to allergist’s persistence

When Collin Kirk, now 5, was 18 months old, he broke out in hives. His mom, Laura, was worried it was an allergic reaction. A friend recommended Jacqueline Ross, M.D., an allergist and immunologist affiliated with K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, so Laura made an appointment.

“Dr. Ross determined that the rash was a viral situation, but she was very thorough in examining Collin and asking about his health history,” Laura says. During the exam, Dr. Ross noticed that Collin had eczema. In addition, she learned that Collin had a history of developing bronchitis whenever he’d get a cold.

CONNECTING THE DOTS

“I always try to look at the whole picture,” Dr. Ross says. “Many conditions may seem unrelated, but they’re actually tied to the same inflammatory process within the immune system.” Dr. Ross recommended a lotion for treating Collin’s eczema. She showed Laura how to use the lotion as a barrier on his skin to prevent flare-ups.

Dr. Ross also diagnosed Collin with asthma and prescribed a once-daily nebulizer treatment to help keep his airways open. She told Laura to increase it to two daily treatments, using a steroid medication, any time Collin came down with a cold to keep it from turning into something worse.

EMPOWERING PATIENTS

“When I left the office, I felt educated and empowered,” Laura says. “Collin had spent so much time being sick, but I felt like I finally had the tools to help him get better.”

For Dr. Ross, education and communication are the cornerstones of the care she delivers for both children and adults. “From my perspective, I don’t want parents wondering what they should or shouldn’t be doing,” she says. “It’s important that they feel comfortable calling my office with any questions and reach out early so we can identify and treat any problems.”

Today, the kindergartner’s symptoms are well-controlled. Collin visits Dr. Ross every six months for checkups. “What kid wants to be sick all the time?” Laura says. “I can’t even remember the last time he’s needed an antibiotic. He’s been so much better off because of Dr. Ross’ care.”

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