I Am an Asthma Mom

Photo by NIAID via Flickr Creative Commons.
Photo by NIAID via Flickr Creative Commons.

by carlyn prato-emens.

I am an asthma mom. Both of my beautiful girls, ages 3 and 4, are asthmatic. The youngest has seasonal asthma that correlates to her allergies or if she is sick. The oldest has what is known as Cough Variant Asthma. It is asthma that presents as a cough rather than a wheeze: a tight whistle-like nonstop cough.

Caring for children with asthma can be scary. Do they need a treatment? What happens if I give them their inhaler and they didn’t really need it? What if I don’t give them a treatment soon enough? What are the signs of an attack? How do I know if I should bring her to the hospital? These are all thoughts that ran through my head when I realized my kids had asthma.

I also have asthma, but with small humans it is scary: it is scarier for you than it is for them. They don’t really care, and depending on their age, they don’t even understand it. My oldest knows that if she is coughing too much, I will tell her it is time to rest for a little bit, and if that cough doesn’t go away shortly she will need a treatment. The worst thing you can do when an asthma attack strikes is panic. It will make the child panic, which immediately makes the attack worse.

So when do you give a treatment? As soon as possible. As soon as you notice your charge is not breathing properly, give them their treatment, whatever that may be, and stay calm. It is scary for them when they can’t breathe, so just continue to talk to them and help them. What if you aren’t sure if they need it? It will do more than harm than good if you don’t give it to them. You are better off giving them the treatment; it won’t hurt them. With asthma, it is better safe than sorry. Always.

Spotting an Attack

Signs of an attack vary: shortness of breath, quick rapid breathing, and excessive coughing. In some kids you will hear a wheeze, in others you won’t. Learn your charge’s specific asthma symptoms because there are many different types.

A hospital trip may be warranted depending on what their doctor recommends. Some recommend going if by the fourth dose the child doesn’t seem to be getting any relief. If there is any signs of oxygen deprivation (bluing of the nails, lips, etc.) you should absolutely take the child to the emergency room.

Consult your charge’s parents or pediatrician to learn the best methods for administering treatments to your charge, including methods on getting them to sit still for their medication. My girls play, run, climb, and rarely sit still. They are doing great! Asthma can be terrifying, but as long as you stay calm and level-headed things will be okay. Most people wouldn’t know that my kids even have asthma if I didn’t tell them because it is so well maintained that so we rarely need treatments.