Why My Child’s Asthma Diagnosis Was ‘Comforting’

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It was alarming and very scary, yet comforting, to have my son officially diagnosed with asthma at age two. By the time he was diagnosed, he had already experienced an ER visit and hospital stay, due to his asthma. Once we had a diagnosis, we could figure out how best to treat his disease, as well as live with it. We hoped that, ideally, he’d outgrow it one day.

It’s been about three years since my older son was diagnosed. For him, that means that he’s more likely to get sick than other kids doing random kid things, like visiting the park, being around a child who’s getting over a cold, going to friend’s birthday party, and attending school. So, it’s a lot to think about. And I’m not alone. According to the National Center for Farmworker Health (NCFH), Hispanics are the largest minority population in the US with asthma prevalence, morbidity, and mortality — particularly Puerto Ricans, followed by Dominicans and Cubans.

Once my son was diagnosed, it was important for me to harness my inner stealth ninja, since he was super reluctant to take meds every day. Without my child being aware, every morning I put a powder form of asthma medication in his orange juice (I find that using a sippy cup that is not see-thru works best). This was a battle in the beginning with my son. For about one to two months, I attempted the candy-like pills and also crushing the medicine in pudding and it failed miserably as my son always detected everything. I finally got my hands on the powder and it worked like a charm. When I mix the powder in yogurt and juice he doesn’t even notice it. He also takes an over-the-counter allergy medication for children, and he uses an inhaler every day as a preventative measure. Without this course of action, my son’s asthma would be unmanageable and he would not be able to be in Pre-K.

Now, with my baby (my son’s younger brother) on the verge of getting officially diagnosed with asthma, we have begun a similar routine under the direction of our pediatrician. Let’s just say getting the silver inhalant tube thrown at my eye this morning is proof that he’s not into this whole maintenance just yet. But we’ll get there. File this under #mommybattlewounds

In the meantime, I have to be super selective of where my children can play and the functions they can attend. Other parents who aren’t in the same boat may think they might just get sick — deal with it like the rest of us! But the medication they have to take if they get sick has a lot of side effects, including insomnia for the parents.. I recommend following your inner voice if you find yourself in a similar situation. If you know (or assume) your child is highly likely to get sick at xyz park — avoid it like the plague. 

I have found that following a protocol with my pediatrician, as well as seeing a pulmonologist, worked best for us. We also visited several allergists to rule out any allergic reactions. Now, we can be confident that we’re on the right treatment plan.

If you are in a similar situation with your child, I hope you find my story uplifting and reassuring. There IS light at the end of this tunnel.

Important Note: I’m not a medical professional, so please seek professional medical advice in treating your own child’s asthma.

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Photos: Cassandra Eldridge // Heritage Littles Milk and Cookies Bar