Sunday, October 25, 2009

Asthma Triggers and Treatments

The common cold is something every child experiences. A runny nose and a cough can be an inconvenience for  parents as well as uncomfortable for any child.

When you have a child with asthma, the treatment is a little more involved than just taking a cold medicine. Both of my daughters have asthma and when they get a cold it can easily develop into something more serious. In the past, my oldest daughter had a cold which developed into pneumonia quite quickly.

I used to be very skeptical about all of the asthma medications our allergist recommended for the maintenance of their asthma. However,  I have become more aware of how even the common cold can develop into something more serious in children with asthma. I have found that the asthma medications do make a difference for my children along with regular visits to our chiropractor.

My girls are also more sensitive to asthma triggers such as strong odors, smoke, cold air, and dust to name a few. On one occasion, my daughter had a very serious reaction to the smell of smoke at a friend's house.

My friend had been preparing a beautiful brunch and had accidently burned the pancakes. She had all of the fans on over the stove in order to get rid of the smoke odor but the odor still lingered. We all know how strong the smell of smoke can be.

Within 20 minutes of arriving at my friend's house, Carlese said she needed her inhaler. I gave her an Albuterol inhaler treatment but it didn't seem to help.

 Fortunately at the brunch, also in attendance were two doctors and an asthma nurse. They observed Carlese's breathing  and she was retracting, when the chest appears to be pulling in and out or you can see the ribs when you are inhaling and exhaling. This is a very serious condition.

The asthma nurse said she would call 911 because Carlese was getting worse and was really struggling to breathe. We called 911 and when the paramedics arrived, they did a pulse oximeter reading, this  measures the normal oxygen saturation level in the blood. Carlese's reading was only 84. This is a very low reading. A normal range is 95 -100.

She ended up going to the Yale New Haven Children's Emergency Room and stayed at Yale for three days because of this incident.

Before this incident, I was holding off on giving my girls too many asthma medications, but since the smoke episode which was a very serious asthma trigger, we have a great Asthma Action Plan in place.

These are some things I have found to be very successful in keeping my girls well and out of the hospital:

1. Flow meters are a must for children with asthma. They allow you to establish good and bad flow meter ranges for your child. After establishing the appropriate flow meter ranges for your child, you are more prepared to know what action you should take when your child is having difficulty breathing.  Your allergist can help you establish a customized Asthma Action Plan.

2. We have also established a maintenance asthma medication of Flovent 44 mg during the year using the spacer, two puffs twice a day.

3. When my girls are sick we use Flovent 220 mg using the spacer, two puffs twice a day. Another option is using Pulmicort 0.5mg/2ml vials used with a nebulizer.

4. For a fast acting treatment, we use Albuterol 90 mg, two puffs with a spacer. We also use Albuterol 0.083%/2.5 mg/3 ml vials in a nebulizer.

5. At the first signs of getting sick or even feeling stressed, which is also an asthma trigger, we visit our chiropractor in order to boost our immune system.

Ask your pediatrician or asthma specialist about developing an Asthma Action Plan and obtaining a flow meter for your child. And don't forget to find a good chiropractor in your area to help boost your child's immune system.

Stay well, stay safe and be brave.

Debra Denhart

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