When my son was about fourteen months old, we had our first experience with the emergency room. He had gotten extremely sick and wouldn’t stop coughing and throwing up. I’ll never forget us having to run out of our date night (at the Cirque de Soleil) to pick him up from the babysitter. We thought maybe he just missed us, but the coughing and vomiting continued even after we got home. In addition to that, it started to sound like he was having trouble breathing. So as first-time parents, we took no chances, and decided to take him to the hospital. For this particular visit (and several subsequent visits afterwards), he was diagnosed with bronchiolitis. We were told that he was too young to be diagnosed with asthma.
Nearly two years after our first ER visit (and after having to acquire a nebulizer and inhaler at home), he was officially diagnosed with asthma. We now always expect his flare ups to come during the season changes (from summer to fall and winter to spring). We always prepare because his wheezing is always preceeded with a cough. Sometimes it’s very manageable with treatments at home, and other times we may have to take a trip to the ER (like we did a few weeks back) because the nebulizer and inhaler do not work quick enough. It’s always such a scary thing for your child to tell you they’re having trouble breathing when you are trying everything in your power to make it better but you can’t.
There are nearly 7 million children (that’s 1 in every 10, or 1 in every 6 for African Americans) in the US that suffer from asthma! So chances are, most of you reading this either have a child with asthma, or know someone who does. Thanks to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood institute (NHLBI) for providing information and resources to help parents control their child’s asthma. They recommend that you work with your child’s doctor and ask him or her to take the following key actions:
· Tell you what medication your child needs to control asthma symptoms.
· Give you a written asthma action plan that spells out what to do every day to control your child’s asthma, and how to handle symptoms or asthma attacks.
· Check your child’s asthma control at regular visits, and adjust medication as needed to keep your child’s asthma in control.
· Schedule regular follow-up visits (at least every six months).
· Work with you to identify your child’s asthma triggers, such as allergens like pet dander and pollens, and irritants like tobacco smoke, sprays and pollution.
· Ask before you leave the doctor’s office or pharmacy for someone to show you and your child how to use each prescribed medication and device correctly.
Being able to get our questions answered by our son’s doctor has definitely put us a little more at ease. We now know how much we can increase his dosages if the wheezing gets to be too bad. It also helps that they have a 24 hour emergency line for the times we’re not sure what to do.
Does your child suffer from asthma? What are some things you do to alleviate the symptoms?