Friday, November 6, 2009

Asthma Has Become Our Life

In the past 3 weeks, Chloe has had 3 asthma attacks. This is a new diagnosis for her and for us meaning we are still trying to get it under control and figure out exactly what all of her triggers are. This past attack which happened Monday was the scariest! She woke up Monday morning breathing 64 times/minute, wheezing, retracting, and having trouble getting out complete sentances. I gave her a dose of Albuterol, her regular Pulmicort neb, a dose of Prednisolone and then 30 minutes later another Albuterol. I called the doctor in the midst of all of this and took her in right then. Her oxygen level was still only 95 despite all of the meds so they watched her for a while and sent us home when her breathing slowed to the 40s. I ended up bringing her back at 3:00 because she was breathing in the 50s and working hard at it. They gave us the option to take her to Vanderbilt or watch her closely at home. Since I did Peds ICU nursing, I felt comfortable bringing her home and knew that we would just put her in the car if she worsened and get her to Vandy. She ended up making it through the night okay with breathing treatments about every 3 hours. Since then, we have weaned off of the Albuterol but are still on her maintenance nebulizer of Pulmicort, still taking the oral steroid twice/day and taking Singulair which is an allergy medicine used in asthmatics. SCARY!!! So, since this is now her life (hopefully she will outgrow it though) I did research and wanted to share this info with our friends and family. All of this is from the Mayo Clinic so it's very accurate and informative.

Childhood asthma and adult asthma have the same underlying cause — inflammation (swelling) of the airways. This inflammation makes the airways overly sensitive. When asthma flares up, airway muscles constrict, the lining of the airways swell, and thick mucus fills the bronchial tubes, leading to asthma symptoms.
Childhood asthma can be very disruptive, causing bothersome daily symptoms that interfere with play, sports, school and sleep. In some children, unmanaged asthma can cause serious or even life-threatening asthma attacks.

Common childhood asthma symptoms include:
■Coughing (check)
■A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling  (check)
■Shortness of breath (check check)
■Chest congestion or tightness (check)
■Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing (check)
■Bouts of coughing or wheezing that get worse with a respiratory infection such as a cold or the flu (check)
■Delayed recovery or bronchitis after a respiratory infection (no)
■Fatigue or trouble breathing during active play or exercise — signs of exercise-induced asthma (no)

 Asthma triggers differ from child to child and include:
■Viral infections such as the common cold
■Allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen or mold
■Tobacco smoke or other environmental pollutants
■Exercise
■Weather changes or cold air
 
Asthma may cause a number of complications, including:

■Severe asthma attacks that require emergency room visits or even hospitalization
■Permanent narrowing of the bronchial tubes (airway remodeling)
■Side effects from long-term use of some medications used to stabilize severe asthma (oral corticosteroids)
■Slightly slowed growth in children caused by long-term use of inhaled corticosteroids



The Albuterol and Pulmicort nebulizer treatments




Sweet girl holding her own mask (she won't wear it)



Oral steroid




Singulair - for allergies is taken during the day and for asthma is taken at night...interesting

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