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Asthma/Allergies...Help!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I have a 4 year old daughter who was doomed by her parents' genes. Her dad has bad asthma and we both have bad ragweed allergies so it was only natural (poor girl) that she inherit some of this. Her asthma, however is getting to be a big problem. We are working on finding an allergy/asthma specialist. She has an inhaler/a few other emergency/as needed medications but I'm wondering a few things.

 

1. Do certain foods trigger asthma? If so, what? And have you found that removing them from your child's diet has helped?

 

2. What other natural remedies have you tried for asthma? Have they helped?

 

Like I said we are in the process of finding and working with a specialist but it's always nice to hear from those who have been in a similar situation. Thanks for any help/advice you may have! 

post #2 of 10

I'm sorry you are dealing with this. My DD has food allergies but doesn't have eczema. Bumping this up so hopefully it gets seen by someone else who has some more info. I hope you are able to get some answers soon mama!

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you! We are headed to an asthma/allergy specialist this afternoon. Hoping it's informative. 

post #4 of 10

All allergic diseases are related, eczema, hay fever, asthma, and food allergies. A child doesn't have to have all of them, but many do have more than one. I think a child with asthma is more likely to have food allergies. Most all of my asthmatic family members, adults included, are sensitive to milk products, including me. However, I don't find that drinking milk triggers an asthma attack. Most of our asthma triggers include airborne allergens like pollen, animal dander, dust, and molds. Getting those out of the bedroom and home whenever possible is the best preventative medicine. If you live in an area with dust mites, its important to wash bedding weekly on hot and dry on hot. This kills the mites which are a huge asthma trigger. Cover the mattress and pillow with allergen covers, like Allerease. They sell ones of tightly woven cotton that won't let dust mite matter through. Dust mites live in carpet too, which is best removed if possible. If not possible, steam cleaning every 3-6 months is important. Regular carpet shampooers aren't as effective. 

 

Dust and wet mop all surfaces frequently. Vacuum carpeting and furniture with a hepa filtered vacuum. Have your daughter shower before bed, washing outdoor pollens out of her hair. Have her sleep in clean clothing for the same reason. Keep her bedroom as pristine an environment as possible. This lets her start each day with an empty allergen bucket, so to speak. She will, without doubt encounter things throughout the day that she is allergic to, but the idea is the body can handle that in limited amounts. Its when the allergen bucket is overflowing we get breakthrough symptoms. 

 

We had a lot of problems with viral induced asthma with my son. Every cold turned made him get a tight chest. I became quite germaphobic. We found washing our hands after returning home from shopping or school every time drastically cut down on the amount of colds he caught. And of course any immune boosting measures make good sense. We use Elderberry syrup and sub-lingual zinc to ward off impending colds. 

 

Its great to try supplemental things to treat asthma, but I think this is one area where it needs to be complementary to modern medicine. Asthma can be life threatening. There are necessary life saving medicines that you may need to become comfortable using. I vastly preferred using a nebulizer for treating my son's asthma over using an inhaler. Its just way more effective because it gets deeper in the lungs as the airways slowly open up over the course of the 5-10 minute treatment. I find it more effective for myself as well, though it is of course not as conveniently portable, so its nice to have an inhaler as well.  I also learned that daily medication to treat the other part of asthma, inflammation, is important. So some type of inhaled steroid is a good idea because it gets at the root of things. Keep in mind that this type of steroid is topical, much like a hydrocortizone cream you might put on a skin rash. Its not the same as oral steroids, which have some nasty systemic side effects. However, we have had to use them many times too, and I am glad they are available as they kept us out of the hospital on more than one occasion. I also found that a daily dose of Zyrtec helpful, especially during high trigger pollen times. Up and up brand at Target has a dye free liquid, as well as dye free Up and up "benadryl'. Both are necessities at our house! 

 

I would ask that she be allergy tested so you can know where you need to focus your efforts most strongly. They can test her for basic foods at the same time, and its always good to eliminate those to reduce the overall allergic response of the body. But I think focusing on air born triggers will give you the most symptom relief. 

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for your detailed post, it is greatly appreciated! She was allergy tested yesterday actually--no major food allergies and her only out door allergies was maple tree pollen. She is also allergic to mold. The post about the viral induced asthma sounds exactly like my daughter. I think we will have to start doing something to really help boost her immune system. She takes a chewable Singular tablet once a day which helps a lot but like you said anytime she has a virus it's back to trouble breathing. I'm hoping it's something she grows out of as she gets older but we will see. I wasn't crazy about the Doctor we saw yesterday, I felt she was very dismissive of me and my questions so we're making an appointment with a different specialist this month. 

post #6 of 10

Mold is a nasty asthma trigger. Try to track down any hidden sources in your house. Old carpets are a big source. Any where that is damp like basements, attics, and bathrooms. And of course mold spores are outdoors all the time, so taking care to shower before bed and keep her room really well dusted and vacuumed will be helpful. Make sure her hair is dry before going to be though so there is no chance of encouraging mildew growth on her pillow or bedding. Bleach solution is the best mold killer. You can make a diluted bleach solution and wipe off all your window sills (a hiding place for mold) and other surfaces. Watch stuffed animals, they can sometimes be a source of mold spores. We greatly reduced our stuffed animals due to allergens and now only have a handful that can all be machine washed. Getting a hepa filter for her room would be a really good idea. It will suck up any mold spores that are circulating. Honeywell is the brand my allergist recommended. 

 

My son took Singulair for years and is back on it as a teen. It has a anti-allergy effect which is nice. I am not sure that its adequate for controlling inflammation of the lungs though. I still think when a child's asthma is out of control, they need an inhaled corticosteriod for a time. Hopefully you can get better answers and treatment from the new doctor. Good luck and keep us posted. 

post #7 of 10

My allergies are awful, and both my kids have inherited the same issues.  We all have allergy induced asthma, although DS seems to have grown out of the asthma.  DD takes singulair & uses an inhaled corticosteroid.  We are hoping to wean her off of it after this cold & flu season.  DS takes Allegra in the AM and Benadryl at night when his allergies are bothering him.  I am a benadryl only girl, but usually end up on singulair during the springtime.

 

Mold can grow anywhere, but thrive in warm damp environments.  So it is important to make sure mold does not proliferate in those areas of your house where mold will be happy.  I highly recommend Hepa filters.  We have also found warm mist humidifiers to be helpful at night when breathing is difficult, ours has a little well for camphor that helps a lot when you are all constricted.  Finding a good allergist is really important.  Since everyone is different, you need someone you can trust when deciding what changes to make and if you want to do allergy shots.

post #8 of 10

My 3 y/o dd has reactive airway disease (I've been told they don't diagnose it as asthma until over age 5) - and we have pretty much the same treatment plan for her as earthmama4 describes (she takes Zyrtec daily, Qvar during peak seasons - we have inhalers & a nebulizer. . etc.).  She does happen to have food allergies as well, but the breathing issues with the reactive airway have been mainly around a virus or she has spurned on an attack during an almost-tantrum (where she ends up unable to breathe easily and I get the inhaler).

 

My dh does have asthma and foods with sulfates (some wines, dried fruits) have been problematic for him.

 

As for 'natural health' type stuff we do to support her system: I try to give her frequent warm baths with eucalyptus, just to help open her airways.  Dh here also has asthma and uses a neti pot (I doubt the 3 y/o would go for that yet - but he finds it a great help, especially during bad seasons for his own allergies.  I have heard of other people getting their kids to use some kind of sinus rinse, though.).    

post #9 of 10
For my ds I've put breathe oil and lavender oil on his chest before bed if he's coughing. I've had him take fish oil, d3, vit. C and a multi vitamin during flu season. Elderberry, liquid garlic and silver when he gets sick. Also, if his inhaler or nebulizer aren't available then I use cold wash clothes on the chest to break up the tight chest and help him breathe. I have him inhale eucalyptus oil in a pan of hot water with a towel over his head too.
post #10 of 10

This is late to the game, but there is some research tying asthma to food intolerances.  I used to have the link bookmarked but I'm with a new hard drive after a crash that lost most of my data.  :(

 

My son had horrible recurrent croupe from infancy through maybe about 3yo (when we found a homeopathic remedy that squashed it).  We had a standing Orapred prescription.  He was diagnosed with Reactive Airway Disorder somewhere between 18-24 months old and we were told quite firmly he'd have asthma.  He had been completely dairy free for at least 6mo at that point and gluten-free for at least 5 (I think he was dx'd closer to 2yo so more like 12 and 11mo respectively).  We refused the daily recommended treatment (with an additional med for when he was actually sick).  To be honest, he had a lot of different problems and we were recommended to a few meds in the same timeframe (some epilepsy meds for absence seizures that were never captured on a 72 hour EEG and Wellbutrin FOR A TWO YEAR OLD to rewire his developmentally delayed little brain).  We were so overwhelmed we didn't do any of them.  bag.gif  He also had a mild immune deficiency that made him prone to respiratory illness (dx'd at 8mo old with med exemption from future shots and warning that he'd be hospitalized minimum 4x/year) and had suffered a collapsed lung 24 hours post birth (underdeveloped for gestational age of 35 wks).

 

He is now 9yo.  He actually had a croup-y cough this morning for the first time in a couple of years and got dosed with the homeopathic remedy that replaced Orapred for us years ago.  Otherwise, you'd have no clue this kid had a breathing problem when he was young.  That being said, our diet changed pretty significantly (in stages, but complete by the time he was about 4yo).  We eat pretty clean--almost nothing that comes with a label on it (coconut milk, coconut yogurt, mustard, and prepared horseradish come to mind but that might be the majority).  I don't live on a farm.  We are not wealthy.  It's not a quick transition.  But he has also only ever been hospitalized once and no longer has seizures.

 

I would suggest keeping a good log on the affected child.  I have one if you need it (PDF with instructions--you can print it out).  Keeping a log helps you pinpoint those little highs and lows that can tip you off to an irritant by letting you analyze timing that you could never possibly remember.  It's a really good first step in trying to find potential answers!

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