Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Asthma and other related health news

I am trying not to feel frustrated with my son's health issues. I just feel so bad for him! The son I'm referring to is JoNo. He started school at the end of August. Since then, I am quite certain that he has missed probably 30%-40% of his schooling due to illness.

Every single time someone in our family got even a slight cold, JoNo would end up with severe breathing issues that would last for 24-48 hours. Sometimes we would end up in the emergency room, sometimes we were able to get him through the night without a breathing treatment. And it almost always would turn into croup.

Well, after our latest round of "croup" a week and a half ago (roughly), JoNo again became very sick and croupy. I made him a doctor's appointment today and we went in to discuss these issues with the doctor as well as to get JoNo checked out.

JoNo was having difficulty breathing even at the office (at 10am!) and the doctor said that he was really wheezy when he listened to him. He also had mattery eyes, red ears and throat. Oh and a fever too. After checking him over, Dr. W concluded that JoNo has RSV - respiratory syncytial virus.

Some info from the CDC's RSV homepage:
"Respiratory syncytial (sin-SISH-uhl) virus, or RSV, is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages. Most otherwise healthy people recover from RSV infection in 1 to 2 weeks. However, infection can be severe in some people, such as certain infants, young children, and older adults. In fact, RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age in the United States. In addition, RSV is more often being recognized as an important cause of respiratory illness in older adults."

And likely this has been going on for awhile and he has been misdiagnosed by the ER doctors when we have needed to take him in for breathing treatments. How frustrating is that!

We also found out that JoNo has what is called mild intermittent asthma. It's pretty much breathing difficulties brought on by colds, viruses, and that sort of thing. Which explains why he would end up getting "croup" every time one of us got sick. It's his body's reaction to illness.

So, now we have a prescription (with refills) for an MDI (metered dose inhaler), a steroid to help reduce the asthmatic flare-ups and Dr. W also recommended that we keep honey readily available for JoNo as well because of the phenolic compounds in the honey being a very inexpensive, readily available cough suppressant. It helps coat the throat which also can lead to decreased coughing fits. And JoNo gets such severe coughing fits that he cannot catch his breath.

I did a little research about all of this when I got home and this is what I have found out about the phenolic compounds from the website. (I am also copy and pasting the information below.)

"Phenolic compounds, or phenols, are substances that plants, such as fruits and vegetables, require for growth and reproduction. According to Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D., phenols may help protect the body against diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Phenols also hold antioxidant properties, so various processed foods now contain them for added nutritional value. Incorporating phenolic compounds into your diet may increase wellness and strengthen your immune system."

So there you have it. That was the sum product of my morning. Exciting and informative huh? You want to know something interesting? Hubby and I both had asthma as children and now as adults, we have mild intermittent asthma ourselves, but didn't know the actual term for it. We also had no clue about all of this additional information that we found out today.

And can I just say, (if it isn't already apparent) that I just love our pediatrician? We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful, devoted, caring, loving and Christian doctor for our kids! He has been such an important part of our parenting. He encourages us as parents, and he honestly treats the whole family, not all by medicine. He is a valuable part of our support system and we have a wonderful relationship with him. I am thankful that he is a part of our lives!

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