This is a subject near and not at all dear to my heart. As a matter of fact I am starting to hate the word "asthma" with every fiber of my being (and trust me, I have lots of fibers). My son has asthma. This of course was only discovered AFTER a middle of the night trip to the emergency room with a gasping, grunting, miserable eleven month old.
While doing my research to determine just what this asthmatic diagnosis was going to mean to our family, I discovered something astounding. Since 1983, the occurence of childhood asthma has increased by 160%. 160%!!! That means that 1 in 4 kids under the age of 5 have asthma! And what's worse, no one seems to know just why this is happening. We have no real answers as to why our normally sturdy, knock-around little toddlers are suddenly being stricken down with wheezing, gasping, coughing and sneezing episodes that take them out of playtime commission for hours, or even days. Some doctors suggest that it's the increased pollution in the air, but even children living in South Dakota, far, far, FAR away from any major highways are being diagnosed. Others are suggesting the additives in food may be a contributing factor, causing allergies which are in turn causing asthma. This suggestion I could believe. There are so many chemicals in our foods these days we'll soon be sucking our nutrition straight out of a self-dispensing mouthpiece connected to a large, black container marked "Bio-Hazard". Yuck.
Little boys apparently have a slightly higher risk of being diagnosed with asthma as well. The jury is still out on whether this has anything to do with the fact that boys tend to mature a bit slower than girls. A parent with asthma is obviously a red-flag, but genetics I can certainly understand. You don't get a chance to pick your parents, but it sure would be nice if you could pick and choose which health issues they are allowed to pass on!
As a parent taking care of a wonderful, beautiful child with asthma, I know just how frustrating this chronic condition can be. I also know first hand that doctors are not all asthma specialists, and that conflicting information is often the norm, especially after your initial diagnosis.
If you are looking for more information on asthma, and more importantly accurate information on childhood asthma the experts are always the best, and the experts are at www.lungusa.com the American Lung Association Site. If you have a little one battling asthma, I suggest you look into possible support groups in your area. Just having someone else to talk to who has been through the sleepless nights and the constant worry can really help lighten your stress load. I'm still on the hunt for some really good childhood asthma message boards to frequent, so if any of you know of any, please drop me a line and I'll check them out.
Now, strictly to make myself feel better after a long night of nebulizer treatments and listening to my angel cough and wheeze, I want to hear YOUR asthma stories. Or any toddler health scares for that matter. How did you survive feeling so helpless when your little one was under the weather?