As a parent, you try and do everything for your kids to make sure they grow up healthy and strong. I know that's the case for my husband and me when it comes to our 5 children. But, when one of them is diagnosed with a medical condition that is totally new to you, it can be a bit scary and overwhelming. This was the case for us recently, when my son Jacob was diagnosed with asthma.
When he was just an infant, he contracted RSV and ever since then, he always had issues with getting sick a lot during the winter, and just being more susceptible to upper respiratory infections like strep, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Over the years, my husband and I started to notice that he was getting sick quite often. Certainly more than any of our other kids. And, many of these "episodes" were instances where he would cough quite a bit (especially at night), and it would affect his ability to breathe or sleep. At times, he would even cough enough to where he would gag himself and it would result in him getting sick all over the place. I felt so helpless and bad since there was nothing I could do.
I began to talk to our pediatrician about the fact that he may have asthma. She told me at the time that he was getting to be the prime age for an asthma spirometer test, which is around age 6 or 7. During a recent visit earlier this spring, when he was sick and ended up going on antibiotics, we discussed that he should finish his antibiotics and then come in a few weeks after his body had a chance to heal from his illness. This asthma spirometer test would yield the best results when he was good and well, with no chance of an illness affecting the results.
The spirometry test was administered to my son and his results were great enough to conclude that he did indeed have asthma. Although it's what I had been expecting, finding out that this was definite, still was a bit scary for me. None of my other 4 kids have asthma, nor do my husband or I. My first thought was that I didn't want this to limit him in any way. I didn't want it to affect his outgoing and active lifestyle. He absolutely LOVES sports and loves being outside, playing with his brothers or riding his bike up and down our street. He loves running and jumping on our trampoline. He loves swimming and going to the park. I know he'd be crushed if his asthma diagnosis limited him in any way. Thankfully though, I did some digging around on a trusted site - Children's Mercy Kansas City. Their Asthma Education page features so many great asthma resources for not only understanding asthma, but also helping find the best treatment plans and options for kids who suffer from it.
I never realized that asthma is actually one of the most common long-term illnesses in children. An average of one of every 10 school-aged children has asthma, and each year they miss 13 million school days. It is also the third-most common reason children under 15 go to the hospital. The vast resources and information found on the Children's Mercy Kansas City Asthma Education Page was so helpful to me. It provided answers to questions I didn't even realize I'd have. For example, our pediatrician worked with us to create Jacob's very own Asthma Action Plan to help us understand and treat his asthma. You can download and Asthma Action Plan for your child as well.
And while Jacob's asthma diagnosis is mild - meaning he is on the lowest dosage possible on a once daily inhaled steroid - I know that his condition is something he might still be able to outgrow one day. And if not, it's so comforting to know that the resources and physicians at Children's Mercy Kansas City will be there to guide us along our asthma journey.
You can find even more helpful content on asthma and other health-related resources for kids over at childrensmercy.org/moms, and follow Children's Mercy on Facebook and Twitter for more everyday parenting tips, info, and support.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.