Asthmatic Bronchitis: A mom's point of view
Every month I have to make a trip to the Children's Hospital of my area to get the asthma medication that public healthcare gives my son. Thankfully, he has never had one of those asthma episodes where his airway shuts off to any passing of oxygen. However, he has had it pretty bad with asthmatic bronchitis. The preventive treatment they are giving him consists of Montelukast, and Inhaled Beclomethasone and so far it has kept him off the ER for almost two years.
Everytime I visit the Children's Hospital, just like I did today, I run into so many mothers that remind me of myself when my son was about 2-3 years old. Mothers with tired faces that seem to have been there since 2am and in most cases all alone with no help from the fathers of their wheezing babies. Today, while seeing a mom struggling to carry her child and her huge baby bag into the nebulizer room I caught myself thinking: "It's amazing how we don't appreciate or think about our power to breath until you or someone you love is suddenly short of breath." Once that happens, breathing becomes an item in your daily to "do list" as you grow more conscious of the good breathing days.
I do have a nebulizer at home that thankfully I practically never use, and he has a de-humidifier in his room that is activated a few hours before he goes to bed to reduce the humidity in his room. However this article is really about how my son's condition made me aware of 5 factors going on around me that I knew affected him, but didn't realize how much until I started being more strict about them. I want to share them with you because you can never be too careful when it comes to asthma.
This environmental trigger was 1 of the hardest to deal with. I do not smoke, but many of my good friends do. So un-inviting them to my house and being antisocial (away from their cigarette smoke) at their parties so I would not carry the smell in my clothes and into my house where a couple of sacrifices I had to do and honestly I did it happily and with no regrets. Changing with my friends was sad, but my baby came first. Secondhand smoking is much more dangerous for children with asthma than to adults. The irritation produced in their lungs caused by the tobacco smoke will lead to a higher secretion of mucus. This will not only have immediate impact on the child's health but could also alter the function of the lungs later on when they get older. Children who grow up around smokers are more prone to suffer from respiratory infections especially those who suffer from asthma.
As much as I can, I will try to keep him away from pollution when we are walking around the city, but what are the chances, right? I have grown sensible to my surroundings knowing when it's best to cross the street, get inside a store, shut our windows, do anything else in my power to reppel, or stay away from combustion smoke and other pollutants. It is really not that hard to stay on top of things like that. Especially if my child is sick with a cold or going through an allergic phase, I grow much more careful towards things like that. So until the day we can move to the mountains where the air is cleaner, I'll keep up my guard.
Speaking about allergic phases, this is a huge deal for those kids who suffer from asthmatic bronchitis. Like my kiddo, a high number of children with this ordeal are also highly allergic. Allergens such as strong odors, dust, humidity (mold), pollen, and some types of food can trigger not only an allergic reaction but also an asthma crisis. So what do I do? Look around, pay attention. No, I do not sit there like a watchdog waiting for an allergen to come to fight it away like a knight in shining armor. The more you pay attention to allergens on a constant daily basis, the more natural it becomes. But most importantly, I teach my son. Giving them the power of knowing what is good for them or not when they suffer from asthma or allergies is the best call you can make. My son knows he should stay away from brooms that pick up dust, he asks if a chocolate has peanuts before he puts it in his mouth, he knows when he is going through a bronchitis crisis, it's best for him not to eat tomatoes or strawberries. He is only 5 years old yet he is well aware of how to take care of himself even when I am not around.
I guess the hardest part was reminding my daughter not to spray her deodorant or perfume so close to her brother. The rest is pretty much the same as other factors. Watch out for strong detergents, cleaning liquids etc.
Are you the type of mom who chases their kid around to put on his sweater after they have been playing and it is time to go home? I am. Many people disregard the fact that weather changes are super harmful, not only for kids but also to adults. Always gear up your child if you know they will go through a weather change. It is not that hard.
There are a few other factors such as exercise, infections (viral or bacterial), and even strong emotions such as crying or laughing that can trigger asthmatic bronchitis or make the symptoms get out of control but the five I mentioned above are those who I believe I have mostly under control as a mother and human being. Since I became aware of these and started to do something about them at home, with others, or anywhere I went, my son has improved from his condition to a point where it even surprises me how well he is doing. I am sure the preventive medication I get every month for him is helping him but more so now that I am so protective and strict about his surroundings.