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  1. #1
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    Default New to asthma. I need some help/advise please.

    We noticed about 6 months ago that dd (3yo) was having some trouble catching her breath after playing/running around and had a cough that never seemed to go away. She had only just "grown out" of some of her allergies and eczema so I knew this could be asthma.
    I had been taking her to a few dr's about this, all dismissing asthma and telling me she was fine, that they wouldn't diagnose it in children under 5, we had just moved from the city to a rural area so I didn't have her usual doctor who had told me over the years to look out for signs of asthma due to her sever allergies and eczema (she had 4 allergies and 1 sever allergy to egg that still requires us to have an epipen on hand, the mild allergies aren't an issue now)
    About a month ago she got a bad chest infection, about a week in she woke up one night coughing, struggling to get her breath, wheezing and went blue, then limp, we called an ambulance, taken into hospital where we were told she was having an asthma attack, she stayed there and was treated, it was pretty upsetting to see her that way and kind of knocked me about.
    We started seeing a new dr straight away that the hospital recommended and she has been fantastic.
    it had been 3 weeks since the chest infection cleared up, but things didn't seem to improve all to well even with the puffer (we use a spacer with it and face mask attached)
    We went back to her dr and she told us to not be shy in using the puffer and if she needed it, then give it.
    She also spoke to us about preventative medication, I was hesitant so she gave me some information about it all, did up an action plan and really went into full detail about when to call 000.
    She told us to come back a week later after we had read through all the information.
    We are going back on Friday.

    Last night the temperature really dropped quite quickly, dd woke up coughing so I went into her room and got her puffer ready, the puffer just wasn't helping, DH took over whilst I called 000 as she just couldn't breathe, DH was asking her questions and she couldn't talk, she was so worked up and petrified she would not let us put the mask (that's attached to the spacer) on her face, she thrashed and pushed it away until the lack of air just exhausted her and she gave up, I held her head down so DH was able to keep giving her puffs until the ambulance arrived, once they did she was able to breath a bit easier and form small sentences. They continued to treat her on our way to the hospital and by the time we got there, she was fine, just extremely exhausted and drowsy.
    Today she has just told me non stop that her back and chest is very sore, she has slept most the day. I also noticed her mouth and lips were very dry and red, which I'm guessing was from all the puffers and oxygen at the hospital?
    I'm quite shaken by all this, I'm to afraid to fall asleep at night, I feel helpless I suppose, it's effecting dd so it's quite obvious she needs a preventative.

    I've read the information on the preventative medication given to me, I've also gone onto the asthma Australia web page and read a lot there.
    But I'm just left with more questions.
    So I thought I'd ask some questions on here and hopefully get an idea of what other parents with asthma suffers do.

    My questions are...
    -does your child use a preventative? Does it help? Have you found any bad side effects from it? The dr mentioned we might only need to use them at winter time, but reading some things online it says that once you start, you have to stay on it.
    I'm just a bit worried about giving a 3yo daily medicine, but at the same time just the puffer isn't helping and these attacks don't seem to be going away or getting any better, I would rather a daily medication than her breathing restricted, but I'm just worried and cautious about the types of preventives purely because I don't know of any other 3 year olds on it.

    - have the puffers and preventatives harmed your child's teeth at all?
    Do you brush their teeth after every dose or just stick to the 2 times a day?

    - what do you do when your child is so worked up and won't allow you to administer the puffer (used with a spacer and mask)?
    She is fine using it and thinks it's great, but when she is having a big attack she freaks about it being near her face, we just can't seem to calm her down enough. And it's hard keeping the mask flush with her face for long enough when she is fighting us off.
    Would a nebulizer be something that would help in a situation like this? Or is there another way?

    - it's the cold that I've noticed sets an attack off, we live rural and it gets cold. We are heading for 5 degree nights this week, it will only get colder once winter arrives, what do I do? We don't have heating in the house, I have coil heaters in each room, but they seem to just overheat dd and the air in the room still stays crisp and cool.
    We rent and are more than willing to move if something like ducted heating will benefit her.

    - when calling 000, I always have a moment of "should I?"
    Dd's dr has just told us to call when ever we are in doubt, I have the action plan which tells us at what point we should call, but I feel so panicked and constantly second guess myself, I just don't feel confident at all.

    - DH is fully trained in first aid, so when dd had that attack he just took over and I was just standing there crying, freaking out and being useless, whilst DH told me what to do, which did not help dd at all. I didn't calm down until the ambulance arrived. I just had zero confidence in the whole situation.
    Dh's goes away for work quite often and I'm absolutely freaking out on how I will cope if she has another attack whilst he is away.
    Should a first aid course be something I should look into? If you did do one, did it give you any confidence?

    Sorry for the billions of questions.
    I just feel so lost, it's all so new and quite frightening, it's weird, I was always calm during her big allergies reactions and could think rationally, this though.. I just freeze in shock the moment she starts loosing breaths, I feel so withdrawn from her during it, I'm her mum, I know how to calm her down, but nothing works when she has an attack and I just feel so useless.
    I feel like an idiot or some helicopter parent when I bombard the hospital staff or our dr with these questions, I know their trained professionals and all but I'm just looking for that comfort in knowing what other parents do, and how they tackle it all.

    If you have made it this far thanks for reading, I'm sorry it's such a long post.

  2. #2
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    Hi Rachell,
    Im sorry you're going through all of this feeling so confused!

    1. Do a first aid course. Not only will it help you feel able to cope in these situations, but it will help should any other medical emergencies arise.

    2. NEVER feel guilty about calling for an ambulance. If you feel you need to. Do it. Asthma is life threatening and extremely serious. If cost is a concern then look at getting ambulance cover. I can tell you first hand that all medics take asthma very seriously. Especially after people have called 000 for infected toe nails and sore teeth etc all day.

    3. Check with your nearest children's hospital as they often run asthma day courses to help not with just Mum and Dad but other family and carers who may care for the child. It would also be wise to see the specialist clinic for breathing and lung disorders.

    My son (4 yrs) has seasonal asthma, where it only hits during the cooler weather. We use a preventer during this time. He is really good with using his spacer but panics when having attacks. That is completely normal. When you speak to people old enough to describe an attack they tell you they feel like they're suffocating. So I can understand that they then don't like a mask over their face. Do what you have to do, hold down if necessary.


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  4. #3
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    You poor thing, how scary that all sounds!

    My 8yo has asthma, thankfully she responds really really well to Ventolin, so *touch wood* she has never been hospitalised for her asthma. She is on Serotide as a preventer which she has once or twice a day... or whenever she remembers. I get her to rinse her mouth out after having it, because of the risk of oral thrush. She doesn't rinse her mouth after Ventolin though. With the preventer she is actually only prescribed it once per day, and then she can increase it to two when I feel she needs it, like when she gets a cold.

    A puffer and spacer have been shown to be most effective, more than a nebuliser. However a nebuliser can be useful if they aren't taking deep enough breaths from the spacer, but then in saying that if your DD isn't keeping a mask on then that point may be moot.

    Doing a first aid course is always useful. They don't cover much on asthma but maybe just having a bit more general first aid knowledge and the hands on skills they show you, may get your confidence up a bit. You are right, when they are having an attack it's near impossible to calm them down, maybe you just need to switch off 'mum mode' and go into 'nurse mode', just focus on getting the medication into her and ambulance on it's way if needed.
    Also as she gets older she will fight you less, so it will get easier to get the medication in.

    Good luck.

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  6. #4
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    Hi hun

    Big hugs it is scary x I dont have a child with asthma but have had asthma since I was young.

    1. Preventatives are key to keeping asthma under control. The dose can be increased during bad times to increase lung capacity. Eg winter or after colds. I have never had any side effects of any I have taken.
    I dont believe you get reliant on the meds but for some asthmatics you need to continue meds to manage the condition. Its a cost/benefit comparison with the benefits far outweighing anything else in my case.
    No damage to my teeth after 26yrs of using puffers (sporadically after I hit my late teens). I take the puffer prebrushing teeth and then brush after.
    2. I am not sure but the nebuliser may help being little. Try looking at asthma council website?
    3. I found the oil fin heaters work a treat in warming the air temp. You can put a bowl of water in the corner I have heard to keep the air from being dry?
    4. Dont hesitate to call 000 if you need it. Asthma attacks can change fast and they are equipped with adrenaline and oxygen to really treat. I would do a first aid course for sure.

    It is scary but equip yourself with info and support and you will be all over this. You are doing great mumma x

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  8. #5
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    Big hugs.

    I grew up with asthma & was hospitalised a few times when I was little. I think the first time I was maybe 3 - I remember coughing non-stop & struggling to breath & my parents rushing the 20 or so ks to our local hospital.
    I was on ventolin & a preventor (can't remember what sort when I was little but was seretide as a teen/young adult) at times. I also had a nebuliser & used that often (usually at night in winter).

    Don't be afraid to use the ventolin/nebuliser & preventors. For me the preventors helped alot & dosage can be adjusted during peak times. Also using the nebuliser & ventolin at the first hint of a potential attack. Far easier to pop a mask on when you are calm & not in the midst of an attack & panicking.
    I don't have dental issues because of continuous use of inhalers.

    If it doesn't seem to be working or you are worried call 000. Don't second guess yourself, just call. And don't feel guilty about it, you are doing the right thing!

    A first aid course would be useful, and if there are any asthma-specific info sessions (maybe ask hospital/asthma council).

    Best wishes & I hope your DD is improving!

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    Last edited by Izzys Dragon; 30-04-2014 at 09:10.

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    Just an afterthought - as well as learning as much as you can yourself, make sure your DD learns too & knows what to do as soon as she feels symptoms or is exposed to a trigger.

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  12. #7
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    Thank you all so much for your replies, it's helped ease my concern over those issues.
    She woke up coughing again last night (well early am) she instantly freaked out, she was ok though, just needed her minimum dose and she was good.
    It's obvious she needs a preventative.

    I really want her in our bed until these attacks get better, I was saying to DH last night it's hard when she is healthy, happy and fine then all of a sudden out of no where she is having trouble breathing and seems so delicate.
    Dd is a little bizarre and refuses to be in our bed, she loves her own space and each time I try to stay in her room or put her in ours she will get quite upset and will just want to be by herself.
    The house layout is weird too so our bed room is on one end of the house and hers is at the other end. That's been why I can't really sleep at night, I just worry that I won't hear her, usually if she wakes up from something she will just walk down to our room and ask for help, but she can't do that during attacks..
    I didn't even sleep last night, I was in the lounge room (just next to her room) and every noise woke me up.
    DH said he will go past the shops today during work and buy a baby monitor...
    But this is nothing like me, I feel like I'm over stressing and freaking out non stop!
    I do suffer from bad anxiety and have been off my meds for a few months now, I'm starting to wonder how I would be handling all this of I was on my meds. I don't know if my stress is "normal" or becoming "abnormal"
    My mum said I should just wait until dd is on a more solid plan to control her asthma before running out and jumping on the meds I took so long to get off.
    So I just keep reminding myself of that.

    We go to her dr on Friday, if I could get in earlier I would, but being rural and all, good dr's book up like crazy.

    Also how much dose an ambulance cost? We have had them out twice, when she had her first attack and the most recent one, is that something I'll get a bill for?
    The cost doesn't really worry me to be honest, but it would be good to budget for that so we don't get a shock in a few weeks or look into what mandlsmum
    Said about ambulance cover.
    We are in QLD.
    There is an ambulance depo right at the end of our street, it takes them all but 3-5 minutes tops to get here, the hospital is in town and it's a bit of a drive, the ambulance in those kind of situations is a must really, and thanks for reminding me mandlsmum of what some people call for, because I do feel when calling that there could be someone having a cardiac arrest and I've just called up, each time they have come though they have never made me feel that I called for nothing, it's more by the time we get to the hospital she is heaps better from the work the ambos did and I kind of feel silly.
    I would feel worse though if something unthinkable happened all because I hesitated in calling.
    So I just need to man up and use the services available.

    We have asked dd what it feels like when she has an attack, she knows what her asthma is and is quite good at communicating with us, she tells us it's like running around and then holding her breath, and that it stings her back.
    It's quite frustrating that she will tell us all this stuff but at the hospital or doctor she is shy, silent and mumbles.

    Thanks so much for reading my rambles, I'm sure I'll calm my farm after going to the dr and get closer to controlling this, in the meantime I might just allow myself to keep freaking the f out
    Last edited by Liddybugs; 30-04-2014 at 10:28.

  13. #8
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    Ambulance.is free in qld x

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    As a child I had severe asthma. I had a wedge under my bed when it was bad to help with breathing. I was on both preventative and ventolin. I also remember having a liquid medicine that helped when the bronchitis flared up.

    Biggest things to remember when she has an attack is to keep calm. Dad used to get me to sit up straight and focus on him. He would talk to me calmly and make me focus on trying to breathe.
    First instinct during an attack is to hunch over which closes the airways.

    You can also try a nebulizer.

    Hope this helps. And good luck. Fingers crossed she will grow out of this too.

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    Big hugs. It is scary.

    We had a bit of a hard time with ds2 when he was younger. He also has eczema.

    We have a nebuliser. Sometimes he is really good about it, but when he has been really short of breath and non stop coughing he fights it. When this happens we would sit him on DFs lap, with his back to DFs chest. That way df could hold him and I could face ds2 and hold the face mask on. We hated doing it this way, but it was needed.

    Doing a first aid course may help you feel more confident. I was somewhat like you, I could handle other issues but when ds2 was struggling I was at a loss.

    Never feel like you are an idiot! You are looking out for your daughters best interest and informing yourself.
    As someone else mentioned, we don't pay for ambulance in QLD. Never hesitate to call them. Ambos are great people who are there to help.



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