Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Weather Changes and Asthma

None of my kids have officially been diagnosed with asthma.  But Bee sometimes has some asthma symptoms.  Hers are mostly associated with sickness though.  Whenever she has a bad cold or a respiratory infection, I can just plan to pull out the nebulizer and be ready for breathing treatments late at night.  Thankfully she can run and play all day and she's never had problems when exercising.  She also doesn't seem to have terrible environmental allergies.  She occasionally has a cough but doesn't need any daily meds to control her allergies.  It seems like it's just sickness that gives her breathing trouble.  But this weekend, we discovered a new cause of breathing problems - drastic weather changes.

My family was in town for the weekend and Bee was spending the night in the hotel with her grandparents.  Late that night we got a call that Bee wanted to come home-this NEVER happens so we were really surprised.  My mom said that she was coughing and having a hard time breathing and they thought she might need some breathing treatments.  My dad brought her right home and when she came in the door we could hear her wheezing.  She had circles around her eyes and looked utterly exhausted.  What happened???  She had been fine that day and the day before.  She did have a slight cough but nothing serious.  She went from active and happy to completely worn out from trying to breathe. 

My husband had the nebulizer ready and we started a breathing treatment right away.  6 hours later we were finally getting her breathing under control.  My poor husband was up almost all night with her.  She had breathing treatments every 2 hours, hot steamy showers, humidifiers blasting, inhalers, cough medicine, and so so much coughing and wheezing.  She has not ever had that much trouble breathing before.  By morning she was finally able to breathe and she decided to take a nap.  By the afternoon she was ready to play and feeling good again.  We could not figure it out!

Then we realized that we have had drastic weather changes-from temperatures in the 30's at night to 50's in the day, followed by a day in the 70's.  From one day to the next the temperature can vary by more than 20 degrees in the daytime, not to mention the crazy lows it hits at night.  After talking with some other parents of asthma kids, all their kids are struggling this time of year as well.  Not only have we had super windy days with lots of pollen and dust, but the crazy temperature swings make it hard for their kids to breathe too.  So, the weather changes have been affecting Bee and making her miserable!  I can't wait for consistently warm days.  I think I'm ready for summer!


Anonymous said...

Hi, I linked to your blog from a search about allergy-sniffing dogs and I read this post and I wanted to just say what happened to with my son and his breathing. He will be 4 in a couple of weeks and he has multiple food allergies and ever since he was born he would only ever have trouble breathing when he was sick with a cold/fever. I asked our first two pediatricians about it (specifically "does this sound like asthma to you?") and both said no. We were in Seattle at the time and when we moved to NY, he got sick again in the fall. Previous to the episode in NY I had only been able to TELL the drs about it because the trouble breathing would happen on a weekend or overnight and not bad enough that we'd go to the ER. In the fall in NY, it was the middle of the afternoon so I called the pediatrician and they said to come in. Our ped was out on maternity leave but her partner sent us for a chest x-ray because he could hear NO breath sounds on the right (I felt terrible...I had no idea he was struggling THAT much, it honestly wasn't apparent to me, he wasn't WHEEZING like my husband, who has asthma, does) and he was concerned about a collapsed lung or pneumonia. Thankfully the x-ray showed neither and an albuterol treatment perked my son right up. All fall, we used albuterol by neb whenever he got a cold (first year in preschool) and when our ped got back from maternity leave and we finally saw her she got us in earlier with a different allergy/asthma doc who said that for him it was asthma...she said peds don't like to diagnose it under the age of...5? 6? (can't remember exactly) but that there is such a thing as virus-induced asthma seen in younger kids. However, kids with serious food allergies don't usually outgrow it and the best thinking right now re asthma is to treat early/daily so that the lungs aren't inflamed and that reduces the severity and frequency of episodes. My husband was wary of the daily meds at first but we've seen an improvement in his ability to tolerate illness in the 16 months that my son has been on the neb budesonide. At first he needed rescue inhaler a bit more for playing/sickness (I realized he did need it sometimes other than when sick once I started being in tune with what he sounded like when he was having trouble...it's a subtle change to the pitch of his voice and often asthma in kids presents as a cough, not a wheeze) and always neb albuterol when sick but this fall/winter we haven't used the inhaler at all and have only needed the neb albuterol for 1 cold. Of course that's just OUR experience!! I don't know if you've asked your doctors about Bee but I just thought I'd share because it took me asking three peds and a ped allergy/asthma specialist before I got the whole answer...and I was even assured that "no kids don't JUST have asthma when they are sick"...but according to the asthma doc they can :) Whew, sorry so long, best of luck to you and your family on the allergen free journey!

Anonymous said...

Hi (again) I was thinking that I should clarify something...I was in noooo way suggesting that you should think about asthma meds for your little one! Your post about the trouble breathing when sick was just so similar to my son I wanted to share esp. since I ended up asking several docs and they all said "not asthma" until the allergy/asthma specialist said, yes that's exactly what it is. Anyway, I appreciate your blog! My son's allergies are not as severe as Bee's but we are still strict with avoidance in his diet and it is comforting to read someone else's agenda-free food allergy story. So many (even family members) do not "get it" and that is hard on us parents. I wish food allergies were not such a polarizing issue right now in our society but your blog is well balanced and speaks to the heart of a food allergic parent (I think, anyway!). Thanks :)

Lexi said...

Thanks for all those suggestions! We're still working to figure out what's best for Bee but we do have quite a few asthma meds on hand. We'll be seeing her immunologist and some respiratory specialists and maybe even a pulmonologist soon. So, those are things I can bring up with them. But I'll research before I go :)
Allergies are very hard! And very isolating! So sorry you're dealing with them too!

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