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Monday, April 1, 2013

Newly diagnosed with asthma?

(Shutterstock image)

If you are newly diagnosed with asthma, you may feel like you are back in school. You may be reading articles on the internet, thumbing through magazines, reading books, talking to other parents, etc.

Things have come a long way from when our three children were diagnosed 13 years ago. Back then our then-5 year old was in the hospital for the first time. The respiratory therapist came into our son's hospital room and said "didn't they tell you that your son has asthma?!" He then dropped 30 pages of internet articles on the table by our son's hospital bed and said, "Let me know if you have any questions." He then left the room to visit other patients.

Huh? What?!

To say having a new diagnosis is overwhelming would be an understatement. I heard "your son has asthma" and that was about it. My head was swimming. I had taken our son to the pediatrician a few weeks before with an article from a magazine that talked about asthma. The symptoms sounded ALOT like my son, and I was sure he had asthma. The pediatrician said, "he just has a virus."

I know now that it wasn't a virus, it was asthma. I was worried that he wasn't getting better and took him back to the doctor, and this time the look on the doctor's face told me that it was serious. He gave my son a breathing treatment and then had the nurse call the hospital to get a room ready. He sent us straight there where the respiratory therapist told us he had asthma.

All I knew was that he was having a hard time breathing, and he didn't "look right." I'm so glad I trusted my mother's instinct and went back to the doctor. That move probably saved my son's life.

If you are newly diagnosed, there is a website from Allergy and Asthma Network: Mothers of Asthmatics. They have a section called Newly Diagnosed. It's helpful to learn the terminology that comes with asthma. Know the "buzzwords" and also learn about the equipment. You'll need to know how to use an inhaler, spacer and nebulizer. Web md has a helpful section on their website about using inhalers.

You can also check Youtube, there are a lot of videos that show to use an inhaler and how to use an inhaler with a spacer. There are videos that show how to use other asthma medicines too. Make sure you know how to use a nebulizer (that machine turns the asthma medicine into a fine mist so you can breathe it in a little easier.) If you have kids, you may be using that ALOT. It can save you from having to take trips to the emergency room. You can give breathing treatments at home and on vacation! We have used ours in Disneyland and the Grand Canyon, just to name a few places we have taken our nebulizer.

Knowledge is power, so make sure you read everything you can about asthma. Medicine changes over time as can your asthma triggers and how your asthma needs to be treated.

Make sure you are visiting your doctor. He can find the right treatment plan and change it if you are getting better or worse. Our Asthma Doc has literally kept my kids alive the last 13 years. We are on a first name basis. Thank you Asthma Doc for taking care of us!  

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