Sunday, May 4, 2008

Imagine what it is like when your child can't breath. His lips turn blue. You watch helplessly as he struggles for every breath. He looks at you imploringly "do something" his eys say to you. You've tried every trick that is at your disposal, and he still struggles to breathe. Off to the emergency room you go. This is life as the parent of an asthmatic child. It sucks big time. The only thing they will be able to do at the emergency room is give your child steroids. The drugs themselves have some pretty scary potential side effects, but what is a parent to do. You have to give them to him. He will die otherwise. Not a good option, obviously, so you give him the steroids and pray that he will have no long term damage done to his bones or internal organs to deal with.
My son had his first bout with reactive airway disease (a precursor to asthma) when he was 2 months old. Every time he got a cold he would have wheezing and trouble breathing. He developed allergies and full blown asthma at age 4. When he was in kindergarten I picked him up from school one day. His lips were blue and he was struggling for every breath. He had been in PE and the PE teacher did not know the signs of an asthma attack. You better believe I informed her after that. He could have died that day. He could also have died from a life threatening allergy to penicillin. There are other times when I wondered if he would be okay.
He does everything a normal kid does. He runs, plays sports, plays the trumpet in his middle school band. He loves to fish and do all sorts of outdoor activities. He has never let it slow him down a bit. I admire him for that. He is a survivor. He not only survives - he thrives.
May 6th (Tuesday) is World Asthma Day. I am spreading the word and promoting awareness for this dreadful disease. It affects 1 in every 13 children. That is a staggering amount of children. If your child is not affected, chances are there is at least one child in his/her class at school who is. This makes it something that I feel everyone should be aware of.

Understanding Asthma Attack Symptoms
An asthma attack is a sudden worsening of asthma symptoms caused by the tightening of muscles of your airways (bronchospasm). During the attack, the lining of the airways becomes swollen or inflamed and more and thicker mucus than normal is produced. All of these factors -- bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production -- cause asthma attack symptoms such as difficulty breathing, wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty performing normal daily activities. Other symptoms of an asthma attack include:
Severe wheezing when breathing both in and out
Coughing that won't stop
Very rapid breathing
Chest pain or pressure
Tightened neck and chest muscles, called retractions
Difficulty talking
Feelings of anxiety or panic
Pale, sweaty face
Blue lips or fingernails
Or worsening symptoms despite use of your medications.
For more information visit this website