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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A little trick we learned along the way.....

(Shutterstock image)

If you have kids with asthma, you probably already know that they tend to get REALLY sick. A cold to a "normal" kid is just that - a cold. To a kid with asthma, it can turn into pneumonia. And for us, that would mean another hospitalization. 

My youngest 2 kids (now teenagers) were hospitalized 12 times with pneumonia. (Yes, that was AFTER getting the pneumonia vaccine!!)

One of the doctors gave us a little advice along the way. He told us about a "numbing cream" that can be applied to the back of the hand before an IV needs to be inserted. The brand our hospital used was EMLA.   Why use a numbing cream? Well, when our kids were admitted to the hospital for pneumonia, their oxygen level was usually around 89, it should be closer to 100. If there isn't enough oxygen in the blood, it makes it VERY difficult to get an IV in the vein. 

You (or a child) may have experienced the same thing if you were dehydrated. Being dehydrated or having a low oxygen level affects the veins, the nurse said that it made the veins less plump. That can mean several attempts at finding a "good vein." It can also mean the nurse may need to move the needle around a little to try to find the vein. Talk about scary and painful for a little kid! Most adults can't handle that, let alone a child!! :(

One of the times Son #2 was in the hospital, his oxygen level was really low (only 82) which affected his veins. It took 7 tries to get the IV in. You read that right, 7!! At one point, the nurse filled up disposable diapers with hot water and wrapped those around the back of his hands to try to get the veins to plump up so they could get the IV in. 

Shortly after that, we learned about numbing cream. Every time after that, as soon as we would get to the emergency room, I would ask for the cream. Some of the nurses would just stare blankly at me, they had no idea what I was talking about. I would tell them to go get the doctor, because my kids were NOT going to get an IV until the numbing cream kicked in. (I'm so mean.....) I would have the nurse smear a bunch of cream on the back of both of my kid's hands, then cover it with a plastic covering, then we would wait 30 minutes for the skin to be numb. THEN they could try getting the IV in a vein. 

It's my job as a mom to protect my kids. I can't always take away the hurt and suffering (insert your own mom guilt here). But if there's something like numbing cream that can decrease the pain for my kids, you can BET that I am going to insist on using it!!! I hope you never have a child in the hospital, and may never need to use it. But ask your doctor about numbing cream for IV's. Every doctor and hospital are different, but mine use it. If I can take away a little pain for my kids, you know I will!  


  1. It was interesting and teaching post. I'm always curious: is it normal for asthmatic to have more infections than health people or not? Greetings from cool Cracow.

    1. Hi Zim,

      For us, my kids seemed to be sick more often than other kids their age, and their illness always lasted longer.

      So, they would be coughing for 3-4 weeks after having pneumonia or bronchitis, and just as they were getting better, they would catch another cold.

      And the cycle would start all over again.....