As a parent of two children both with Anaphylactic Food Allergies and our youngest has asthma, my husband and I sometimes take it for granted that we have our youngest child’s asthma is managed well.
Our youngest son Christopher has asthma and thankfully has not been hospitalized for it in over 2 1/2 years. He is on a daily steroid inhaler Qvar for management and Xoponex for his rescue inhaler. Additionally, we have these meds available in liquid form for his nebulizer, which we proactively use, when he gets sick and we start to notice breathing difficulties. Just to note, we also ALWAYS travel with the Neb, as you never know when you will need it and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Last night was a rare occurrence where Christopher started coughing spontaneously after we put him to bed around 9:30pm (Friday was a day off from school so we let the boys stay up later than normal.) I gave him 2 puffs of his rescue inhaler which didn’t help the cough subside. We think the cough stemmed from any of the following: our dog, dust mites, the wood burning stove (which has not been a trigger in the past), or skiing all day outside in the fresh air…who really knows? It’s a mystery…
Anyhow, 20 minutes after the first inhaler we gave him 2 more puffs then looked at his Asthma Action Plan. I have to be honest, my husband and I haven’t looked at it in awhile, and we were really confused when we read it. I think we have been so focused on knowing the Food Allergy Action Plan inside and out, we just haven’t reviewed the Asthma Plan. And, like I said, Christopher’s asthma has been relatively well-managed over the course of the last couple of years.
Anyhow, we deduced that we could give him up to 5 puffs in a row of Xoponex in his inhaler chamber a total of 3 times. These could be 20 minutes apart and substituted for 1 Neb treatment every 20 minutes. If, after the total of 3 rescue attempts, the breathing didn’t get under control then he would need to be taken to the hospital. We gave him the Neb for the 2nd round and his color didn’t look good- his face was really red and his heart was racing, which is typically how he responds to the Neb treatments of levalbuterol, but the coughing didn’t slow down. The coughing actually became more frequent and he was coughing profusely every minute or so.
We took him outside for fresh air, which sometimes works for my husband’s asthma when he is struggling to breath. That helped temporarily until the coughing spasms kicked in again. We then went to the 3rd round of inhaler treatments which didn’t cause a change. At that point, I quickly packed an overnight bag for the hospital and started getting together food for the hospital since we usually take our own due to the food allergies.
I have to include that we spaced the above rescue treatments out more than 20 minutes and tried to calm Christopher down and have him focus on breathing “in his nose and out his mouth.” He told us repeatedly that his breathing was “OK” and just the cough was bothering him. He is usually really good at letting us know whether or not he is in the “RED” asthma zone, which means heading directly to the ER.
At about midnight, my husband Jason, noticed we had Children’s Diametapp in the medicine cabinet. We gave Christopher 2 tsp, which is the recommended dosage, and the coughing and spasming stopped 5 minutes later! We couldn’t believe it! He finally fell fast asleep! Although both Jason and I were up all night monitoring him.
Thankfully, last night didn’t end up as a trip to the ER and we were able to get his breathing and coughing under control. Again, I don’t know what to attribute Christopher’s asthma episode to last night. Perhaps Christopher has a viral bug that caused the rampant coughing and breathing challenges? He has been coughing a bit this morning so I’m now convinced he has a bit of an upper respiratory cold/virus of some sort.
In conclusion, I have to stress, if your child has food allergies and asthma, be mindful of both Emergency Action Plans and review both frequently! Last night’s episode was an example of why you should always be prepared and knowledgable of your child’s health action plans. Thankfully, we were able to get our little guy’s breathing and coughing under control!
Happy Friday and have a Happy Easter!