Asthma is a very frightening condition for anyone that has ever had to experience it, especially children. The experience can be even scarier for toddlers and anyone under the age of 5. My daughter’s first terrorizing experience with an asthma attack happened when she was only 4 years old and resulted in hospitalization and later a diagnosis of asthma. As a parent, I discovered her triggers, how to manage her symptoms, and immediately educated her on how to treat herself. The road was filled with many missed days of schools, hospital visits, and moments of fears, but we managed her condition and we understood her triggers and symptoms like the back of my hand.
I never imaged my next child would develop the same condition. My son had his first experience with terrible wheezing at 4 months old and was given a nebulizer machine, steroids and an inhaler. He took to his treatment well and we hadn’t experienced any more alarming episodes since.
Flash forward to a few weeks ago and the wheezing returned. If you are a parent of a child with asthma, you know that it can be triggered at any moment, the key is to understand their symptoms. The issue with having a toddler is that doctors are reluctant to diagnose children under the age of 5. The tests that are generally used to diagnose a child under the age of 5 are used to gauge the how well a person is breathing and that cannot be easily or accurately obtained in such small children. In this case diagnosing, recognizing and managing asthma in children under the age of 5 can be extremely difficult, therefore learning to recognize symptoms and triggers are essential. I am hoping my experience can help shed some light.
Asthma Experience with My Toddler Son
Common triggers of asthma can be colds, allergies, change in weather, and exercise. One of the common symptoms can be coughing and wheezing, however, depending on your child, there are other less noticeable signs that could linger around for days before an onset begins.
As I mentioned earlier my son has been very stable, therefore his symptoms almost went unnoticed, however looking back they were definitely there. Below are a few common signs that he displayed:
- frequent cold (congestion)
- puffy eyes (active allergies)
- runny, stuffy nose (active allergies)
The above symptoms bother him for 2 days and I called the nurse and explained that he was experiencing allergies and asked if I should give him Zyretek because Benadryl was not working well for him. They said yes. Later that evening he began wheezing. I did what I know how to do. I steamed up the bathroom to clear his lungs and I gave him his inhaler and it calmed down. However overnight things did not improve and we were in the ER the next day.
The change in weather had triggered an episode of wheezing and chest tightening. The ER immediately gave him steroids and treatments. We stayed at the hospital for the morning and were later released with medication for 5 days. I have been monitoring him every day and paying close attention to what could trigger another episode.
For the first week following the episode, he could not play around without getting out of breath. I After finishing his treatment his breathing returned to normal and I notice he is no longer experiencing anymore coughing or congestion in his nose, however, the weather has been much cooler here.
Allergies and asthma are extremely serious for kids and especially small children. Toddlers can have a difficult time explaining that they are having trouble breathing, therefore it is extremely important to pay close attention to their behavior. If your child is experiencing a combination of the above symptoms call your physician or seek medical attention immediately. Treatment options may include avoiding the things that trigger your child’s symptoms, maintenance medications, a hospital visit and or stay until the episode is resolved. I goal is to get your child active, healthy and smiling again!