Asthma

Some Interesting (Helpful?) Articles

I'm sitting here, with a very sick & sleeping three year-old & a napping 11-month old. My six-year old is at his violin lesson, with his Papa. As a result, this blog is getting some posts. I always have ideas floating around, what I want to post next, but any free time given to blogging, usually goes to my photography site. Of course, when I actually post here, I swear it's the beginning of some long overdue regular blogging attempt (that, honestly, never gets regular). Well, maybe this time it will, or maybe it won't. Either way, I think these articles are worth reading:

Allergies cut by friendly bacteria supplement, Swansea University study finds

Researchers Discover Genetic Basis for Eczema, New Avenue to Therapies

Do fast foods cause asthma, rhinoconjunctivities and eczema? Global findings from the International Study of Asthma & Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) Phase Three

Allergy Help: Treating Food Allergies with Chinese Medicine

Spleen Dysfunction & Food Allergy: A TCM Perspective

Food Allergies Linked to Pesticides

The Perfect Epi-pen Case

For quite some time, I've been using a bottle holder for Ry's epi-pen case. I didn't think much of it, until he started school. The school nurse was quite impressed by the little case- she uses pencil cases for each student, but they're a bit smaller & uninsulated. I like the insulation because epi-pens are supposed to be kept at or below room temperature (77 degrees). This isn't really a problem for us, but for those of you who live where the sun shines, it can pose a predicament. I've heard of people actually keeping their epi-pens in a cooler in the hot, summer months, especially when in the car. The bottle holder, while intended to strap onto your diaper bag for your baby, perfectly holds his double pack of epi-pens, a bottle of antihistamine & albuterol inhalor. All the while, being kept at a safe, cool temperature. I have two bottle holders, one for school & one for my purse. You can find them on amazon or I just ordered the robot from 6pm.com.  

all three products we keep in the case

The bottle holder full of all three necessary prescriptions...these are on us at all times.

 

Asthma in the Springtime

Thought I'd post a tiny tidbit on our current asthma regime. When Ry had his allergy testing done in May, the allergist was alarmed by the intensity of his cough. It had come on out of nowhere the week before his testing. We learned that time of the year (roughly April & May) are the absolute worst months in the State of Alaska for allergy & asthma sufferers. The snow melts off, exposing a whole bunch of dead, moldy grass. All that rot causes major inflammation. We had already assumed there was a correlation between Ry's cough & the weather, as it did come on about the same time the snow completely disappeared (we had a long, late winter this year). It was frustrating because we didn't have a go-to method for helping him. The albuterol always works, but it's a rescue inhalor, so not something you want to be giving on a regular basis. In the past we tried singulair, which caused him to stutter & when we took him off it the stutter disappeared, we tried QVar last year with no success & then last fall, we addressed it as a possible result of reflux (although he has not been formerly diagnosed with reflux). Eventually, though, the cough subsided until late spring. In May, the allergist put him on QVar again, since it was obviously not associated with reflux this time. It took a couple weeks before we started to see a difference, but now that he's been on it for two solid months, his cough has become very intermittent & mostly only illness-induced. On that note, every single time he gets a cold (he's had two in the last three months), he gets a cough out of nowhere that sounds exactly like croup. He'll appear as healthy as can be, then all of the sudden, he sounds like a seal. It's a little bit scary, but we watch it very closely & as quick as it came on, it leaves, never usually lasting longer than 12-hours, although his cold obviously sticks around longer than that. He's our little mystery...but back to my point of the post- QVar is currently working. I had hoped he'd never be on a daily inhalor, but at this point we have no choice. His bronchial tubes & overall well-being are our priority, & QVar is making that happen for us right now.

 

Allergy Testing Next Week

Starting on Monday, Ry will have his 6-month allergy check-up. He'll get the patch put on Monday, taken off Wednesday, then final results read Thursday. He will also have prick testing done on Monday. I'm hoping for smooth, easy appointments. At his last testing, in February, he did amazingly well! He listened to the doctor, sat through his testing like a superhero and his skin hardly even flared, which was a big change from previous tests. The first couple times he had the patch testing done, his skin broke out from head to toe (granted it wasn't completely clear to begin with!). I'm hoping rice can be part of his patch test. I think there are only 20 items on there, so granted you're not going to find out all your IgG allergies (a.k.a. intolerances) from this test, but it gives you a good base. I question rice because three weeks ago Ry had his 8th LDA shot. For three days, he had to be on a strict elimination diet. In the first day, before the shot, his cough was completely gone. It stayed away for a good week, then slowly returned. So we've been trying to figure out just what the cause is. At first we thought food, thinking about his diet and what he eats regularly- apples, tomatoes and rice stand out. As we tried eliminating each one without success, we decided we just may not be on the right track. The 5 days prior to LDA, he also has to be on antifungals in case there is a yeast issue (which he's had in the past). We then thought perhaps it was yeast causing the cough. So he's on diflucan again, today is day 4, but the cough is still there. It's kind of a hopeful dead-end, on the one hand we feel like we finally have something to go off of, but on the other, our ideas just aren't panning out. Ultimately, if something new showed up on the patch test, it just might give us a little more direction. It's always a guessing game and really, never to easy to figure out. The important part is trying to figure it out because if we had simply gone off of test results to treat him, we'd be sitting in a pretty bad place (so just a tiny bit of advice ;) )....happy Thursday and hopefully we'll have good results to update here in another week.

Coughity-cough-cough

Ry's cough seems to be getting nastier all of the sudden. I wish I knew the culprit. After our trip to the TCM Healing Center in June, we saw subtle improvements. He'd still get his coughing fits sporadically, but we weren't using the albuterol inhaler as often. He also was not having his nighttime coughing fits, which were a huge relief for me! Recently, though, the nighttime fits have returned, as well as the use of albuterol.

We've decided to start LDA again, we haven't done a shot since last September, but it's time for another one. I'm very curious to see how he handles it & of course hopeful it will have a large impact. Overall, he's healthier than he ever was with his 8 previous LDA shots. The only thing I'm dreading is the 3-day diet. It's not fun putting him on such a restricted diet for 3 days, but when it does have a positive impact on his health, it is worth it.

I'm not used to asthma like this. It's different than what I remember (& still deal with) with my own asthma. Whereas I usually get tight chested and can feel the shortness of breath come on without coughing, Ry is completely fine then out of nowhere starts coughing. The coughing lasts for a few minutes, then he sounds wheezey & tight-chested, and then sometimes more coughing. I give him 1-2 puffs of his albuterol (attached to his spacer, with the mask) and then he is fine.

Sometimes the cough is triggered by running around & activity, but tonight, for example, he was sitting in the living room playing with his toys. He recently went back on singulair, as well, but it does not seem to be making a difference. The last time we tried singulair (last fall), he actually started stuttering when on it. When we took him off, the stuttering stopped. This time around, there is no stuttering, but also no effect on the cough & asthma symptoms. Overall, the attack literally lasts minutes (which is more than enough!) & when I actually make an appointment for the cough & asthma, he always sounds great at the doctor's.

These allergic adventures never cease to amaze me !!

Update: The Asthma Question

I wanted to post a really quick update on Ry since starting him on singulair. Two things have happened that are worth noting. First of all, his cough has gone away. No more waking up in the middle of the night and no more coughing after running around like a crazy 3-year old. However, he has also started stuttering. This is both strange and disturbing, in my opinion. It started happening about five days after starting singulair, but we didn't make the correlation right away. That was last Wednesday, by Thursday it was just as bad and on Friday, we realized it was probably the medication, so we stopped it and called the doctor. One of his recommendations was to cut back the dose; we decided to try every other day. Saturday, there was no stuttering.

On Sunday, we gave him his dose (which he did not get Saturday) because we were going to a birthday party, where there would be plenty of running and we didn't want his cough to start up. That was the last dose he's gotten. The fact that he is still stuttering, five days after the last dose, is extremely bothersome. The cough is also still gone. So, I'm really not sure if this confirms that he has asthma because singulair is also for allergy treatment. His doctor thinks it may actually be environmental allergens. At this point, I guess we'll just have to wait and see if the cough eventually comes back. All I know, is I want the stuttering to be gone. That just plain freaks me out; not a side effect I want to deal with!

The Asthma Question

We've been wondering for some time now if Ry has developed asthma. He has had a cough that comes and goes and we're never able to pin point what's the cause of it. Sometimes it seems there is something in the air, other times it's after running around and often, we just have no idea. It comes and goes, like the tide, but instead of understanding why the water moves in and out, we have no clue what's at the root of this cough. I've thought it was asthma all summer, only because his chance of developing it is so high. He's been in to the doctor's a few times for it, but no one can give a sure diagnosis of asthma. We have an albuterol inhaler we've been towing around for a year now. Last summer, he also had the cough. It only lasted a month, though, whereas this time it's hung on. So we started him on singulair. I'm told this is the best way to determine if it's asthma or not- if his cough disappears with the medicine, then it'll be a confirmation of asthma. If it doesn't, I'm not sure what that means. In all honesty, I want it to go away, but I desperately don't want him to have asthma. I just feel like I'd rather know what it is then question it. Today is day 5 and  he seems better, but I don't want to jump to any conclusions because this is how the cough operates. Just when I think, wow, he hasn't coughed in a few days, it returns with a slap in the face. So fingers crossed, it continues its way out of here. Or as Ry and I joke, "tell that cough to run out the door, up the road, and stay away!" "but mom, then it might find someone else and if it goes in them, they'll have to cough it out!"

The minds of three-year olds are incredibly entertaining, but uff-dah, incredibly exhausting :-) On that note, I'm off to bed...it's been a long beginning of the week, perhaps because I'm trying to be uber-domestic. As in, I actually cleaned two days in a row and heated up leftovers for dinner (from a dinner I made) and baked some treats for the boys. It must be the weather- we're actually having a real fall and it's gorgeous, leaves continue to fall, colors are vibrant, frost is here in the early morning and the mountaintops are covered in snow, what a peaceful way to enter winter...I hope it lasts!