Tuesdays are Your Turn – Time and Kids’ Control

From the ‘ole inbox:

I’m in the middle of trying to help my daughter right now. She’s 4 and just got diagnosed after seeming to be sick all the time. Right now we’re trying to get used to the fact of her diagnosis and learn everything we can about it at the same time. It’s overwhelming us. I could use some good news. How much time does it take to get asthma under control? Can I look forward to things getting easier soon like I hope? – Jessica

Yes!

Well, probably.

Unless your daughter has the type of asthma that doesn’t respond well to known treatments – and that kind is rare – then just simply getting the diagnosis is half your battle. Now you can get aggressive about pinpointing her triggers, learning how to prevent them, and working with her pediatrician or asthma specialist to figure out a maintenance plan of medication. And I’m guessing you’re already way more proactive than I was in the beginning, since you took the time to email this question.

I found out about my kid’s asthma when AG was two years-old. After spending the next year and a half in denial – the opposite of “proactive,” basically – I finally got smart and serious about improving her health. Her asthma has been well-maintained and under control since she was around five, and she’s almost 12 now.

Which is not to say AG doesn’t still go through rough patches. She does, and maybe she always will. The difference is that when she battled bronchitis for over a week recently, for example, she needed antibiotics and round-the-clock bronchodilators but managed to avoid both oral steroids and a trip to the ER.

As a little kid, AG had moderate persistent asthma, but it now falls under the mild persistent classification.

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All right, everyone. Your turn. Got any positive diagnosis/control stories for Jessica? Share ‘em below.

133 responses to “Tuesdays are Your Turn – Time and Kids’ Control”

  1. RNmon says:

    You can do this. It feels so overwhelming when you first get the diagnosis, start doing all the meds, and start researching the heck out of asthma. It will get better. You will become an expert on your kid’s asthma, her triggers, when she needs meds, when she’s doing better. It will seem like it’s taking forever while it’s happening, but it won’t really.

    There’s no telling HOW soon it will happen, but it will happen soon. You’ll get used to the new normal. Good luck, and don’t forget to take care of yourself too-when my son was first diagnosed, I spent a lot of late nites up researching and I know I wasn’t at my best the next day. Too many of those and I just ran myself into the ground.

    -RNmon

  2. Kelley says:

    Ok…My AG developed hers @ 5 & was sick ALL of the time. For us, it took about a year and a half, but that was due to her triggers. The best thing to do to get control is to find the triggers and minimize/eliminate them if possible, and just figuring out what’s causing the constant flaring can be hard. My AG’s were chronic sinus infections, GERD and allergies. Once we were able to handle these and she was on the maintenance inhaler for many months, her asthma improved. If your AG seems snotty/mucous sick all of the time like mine used to be, I would highly recommend having docs help identify whether it’s allergy, sinus infections and/or a poor immune system so you can start tackling the trigger. Additionally, if she is snotty a lot w/post nasal drip, I would recommend saline nasal rinses – no added meds & they really clear things up, though they’re not fun for kids. I do them with my AG & my own sinus problems have cleared up, too. You might want to run this by her doc first, but they really do help with no side effects.

  3. Sara C. says:

    You CAN do this…and good for you…for looking for information.
    A couple of bits of advice…

    if your insurance covers it…find either a pediatric pulmonologist or an Asthma specialist (these are usually allergy docs, but they don’t only deal with allergic asthma) Pediatricians are GREAT for stomach bugs and strep throat and well checks…they are not always so good for Asthma…I feel MUCH more confident in my daughters care under her pulmonologist…in fact, her pediatrician only sees her for asthma under duress (like if the pulmo can’t get her in at all)

    Don’t be afraid to ask LOTS of questions. There really is no such thing as a stupid question….Doctors (even fabulous doctors) forget that they see this stuff every day…but it’s new to you. If you don’t understand something the first time…ask them to repeat it. If they make you feel badly or stupid for asking questions…find a new doctor.

    It’s a crappy hand to be dealt, but it’s a totally playable one. Get some good supports in place, and you’ll be good. Even my daughter, who I thought would NEVER EVER be under control is beginning to find some balance of control…BUT, her lack of control comes from underlying issues that are NOT common…Asthma, on a whole, is typically a VERY VERY controllable disease.

    This sounds silly…but it has really helped me…I got a pocket calendar, and every time my daughter needs her rescue medication…I write it down, and anything that I can think of that might have triggered it. Identifying triggers is VERY key. It also will help when the doctor asks…”how often does she need her rescue medication” For me…they all run into each other…so being able to pull it out and say “ok…she had a long flare here…and needed it here…etc” really has helped a lot.

    Finally…take time to peruse THIS site…Amy has a TON of great information here. She also has a ton of great commenters who really really know their stuff.

    Good luck.

  4. Amy says:

    Fabulous suggestions everyone, especially the ones about taking care of yourself, finding a good asthma/allergy specialist and/or pulmonologist, trying nasal washes, and keeping a trigger journal. I’ve done all these at some point or another. Thanks for your input!

    And thanks, Sara. ;)

  5. Allison says:

    My son was also diagnosed at 4. I felt like it took forever to get his asthma under control, but looking back, it was probably only a year. It took that long because I got so freaked out by the thought of giving him a medicine with a black box warning — Advair. So we used Flovent instead and it just didn’t cut it. Once we finally saw an asthma specialist and not a regular pediatrician who could really assure me that Advair wasn’t going to kill him, I relaxed and agreed. From that moment on, things were amazingly better.

    I’m not suggesting your daughter needs Advair, just that it may take awhile to find the right medications for her needs. The right drugs and figuring out the triggers got us to a much better place. My son went from being moderate persistent to mild persistent in three years (he’s 7.5 now). And he hasn’t had to take prednisone in almost a year!! It does get better. Good luck!

  6. Im late i know, but my daughter was dx’ed at 3. shes 5 now, an we have fairly good control, took about 1 1/2-2 years of fiddling but every step along the way was a little better. Im feeling better enough about her control that she *gulp* starts a 6 week youth basketball program next month, practice once a week and games on saturdays

  7. Ana Morales says:

    Hi,

    I got diagnosed with asthma when I moved to Boston a couple years ago. It took me a whole year of coughing and getting treated for the wrong things to finally get diagnosed. It has been so much better since. It took me a long time to get the right meds (im now on flovent and singulair), and being in college doesn’t help. I can hardly remember to take things as scheduled.

    I completely agree with you on keeping a asthma trigger diary, tracking your asthma can really help control it. Ive spent the last 5 months interning with a company called Geckocap, we’re developing a cap and software to help parents manage their kids asthma. (www.geckocap.com) we’re still making changes and making it as good as possible. It would be a great tool for any parent. If you’re interested please check it out and send us any comments or suggestions that you have. We’re trying to make this the best possible tool for parents.

    Thanks, and best of luck.

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  10. Genesis says:

    Hi everyone,

    Honestly, it all depends, you never know when will be controlled or not. Im in my 20s right now, and i still have a very severe asthma. Theres hope Jessica, ur child will get the asthma under controlled. I tried for so many years, taking inhalers, going to the ER, suffering asthma and panic attacks. I got diagnose right few weeks after I was born because the first thing I did when my mom had me was sneeze. So I kinda born with a rare asthma.

    Doctors over the years have increased my dosis and milligrams bc theres not an exact medicine for me to get asthma under control, which I hate but I have survived and deal with it and has make me more determined to keep breathing. My mom was very scared when she find out, I am her first kid and she was only 19 years old; she helped me, battle to pay the hospitals and she even when to college to get a certificate in respiratory care and medical billing. I wish the best for you and ur child. I learned how to battle and calmed my asthma by myself when I was 5 bc I knew I need to. You and ur child are not alone. Many people have asthma and they lived their normal life with or without medicine. :) all the good luck and best health.

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