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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fireworks, smoke and asthma - a deadly mix

(Shutterstock image)

It's that time of year again - Independence Day (or as most people call it - the 4th of July!)

I like fireworks as much as the next person - but only aerial fireworks like the cities shoot off for the city festivals. (I'm not a fan of those carnival rides though....)

Am I just old and cranky? I only like aerial fireworks and not neighborhood fireworks? Well, yes. I mean - I am old and cranky - but there's a reason why I don't like neighborhood fireworks.

About 15 years ago, Son #2 had been outside playing with friends (as kids do during summer.) I looked out to check on the kids and noticed that the neighborhood was suddenly full of smoke from a forest fire about 15 miles away. So, I quickly called all of the kids to come into the house. 

Son #2 started coughing, so I started giving him Albuterol breathing treatments.

He had already been hospitalized before for asthma (and pneumonia), so I was worried. 

As the night went on, he was still coughing, but not too bad and the treatments seemed to be helping.

Once it was dark, Hubby wanted to light sparklers and other fireworks with the kids. Son #2 didn't seem to be struggling to breath, so I let him go out for a few minutes.

When he came back in, the coughing was worse - and harder. Many of you moms probably know what I mean about the "asthma cough" - it literally hurts your ears to hear them cough.

Anyway, after another breathing treatment, he didn't seem to be improving, so I decided to head to the ER. To cut a long story short, he was instantly taken back to the an ER room and upstairs to the Pediatrics Floor. (Thank you triage nurses - for knowing that my son needed to be seen ahead of someone that needed stitches or a had a broken arm. People who are going to stop breathing always get seen first at the ER!)

After 3 long days in ICU in the Pediatrics Ward, with the "crash cart" outside his room, we were sent home with an oxygen tank. What a scary experience!

The following year? I was scared to let him be outside in the smoke from the fireworks. So, I was  a mean mom and made him watch the fireworks from inside the house. He was one mad kid and let me know how unfair it was!

But it was my job as an asthma mom to protect my son.

Son #2 is in college now, and doesn't seem to be bothered by neighborhood fireworks. We want to enjoy summer and fireworks - but now we go inside the house once it gets too smoky. And we always have our nebulizer and asthma inhaler nearby - just in case.



   

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