Lung kids (asthma, RAD, chronic bronchitis) - Do you take them outside in the winter? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 12-29-2008, 05:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 18-month-old has reactive airway disease and has had a really hard time with his lungs since birth. He was hospitalized twice as an infant with pneumonia and has had "walking pneumonia" and bronchitis a handful of times since then, including a bout with bronchitis about a month ago. I know they say that being out in the cold doesn't cause illness, but it really seems to affect his health negatively if we go outside when it's cold out, and my DH doesn't want him outside AT ALL right now. It seems really cruel to keep him in the house for months on end. Not to mention that my DH is gone half the time, and when it's just me here, my older kids don't get to play outside, either.

I'm just wondering if other small children with asthma/RAD or other lung problems are playing outside in the cold weather. We're in Louisiana, so our temperature rarely ever gets below freezing--I'm talking about mild cold temperatures of around 40 degrees.
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#2 of 30 Old 12-29-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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We live in NE Pennsylvania. It gets very cold here. Today it is warmer (as in above freezing... maybe 40?), but there is still ice and snow on the ground. The kids are outside now.

My DD had RSV when she was a few weeks old, and ever since then has had RA. She was officially Dxed with asthma when she was about 2. She sometimes has coughing fits or needs medication if it is super cold out, but anything above freezing is ok. DD seems to catch every illness that comes down the pike no matter what the weather. We are careful to remind her to wash her hands and we do get her a flu shot every year to try to ward off the worst of it.

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#3 of 30 Old 12-29-2008, 09:15 PM
 
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I think it depends on what triggers your kid's problems. Obviously your guy has issues triggered by cold which is not uncommon at all. My daughter has a multitude of lung issues (BPD, asthma, bronchiectasis) but while the cold affects her negatively there are other factors involved and the cold alone is not a trigger for her. We don't spend much time outside in the winter more so because she doesn't hold her temperature well though than because of breathing issues. We went to an outdoor trail of lights this past week and the temp was in the low 30s. That was the first time she'd spent any considerable amount of time outdoors this winter and she spent the rest of the night wheezing and doing continuous albuterol.
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#4 of 30 Old 12-29-2008, 10:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That was the first time she'd spent any considerable amount of time outdoors this winter and she spent the rest of the night wheezing and doing continuous albuterol.
This is what I'm afraid of. I took him for a "test run" outside today. We stayed out for about 10 minutes, and it was around 42 degrees. He doesn't seem to be having any problems yet, but we'll see if his (chronic) cough is any worse tonight. If he starts wheezing in the night, I'll have my answer, I guess.
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#5 of 30 Old 12-29-2008, 11:16 PM
 
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We live in FL, but visit colder climates. Very cold dry air (like, below 20 degrees) does sometimes cause some coughing, but I certainly don't keep her in if it's 40.

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#6 of 30 Old 12-29-2008, 11:24 PM
 
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I agree, it all depends on what triggers your child.

For my child (now nine, with chronic allergic asthma, diagnosed at 3 months with RAD and lung disease triggered by reflux, aspiration, and viruses) poor air quality in the summer is somewhat of a trigger, indoor allergens such as mold are a moderate trigger, and outdoor allergens such as grass pollen, ragweed and leaf mold are a huge trigger.

But cold -- not a problem at all. In fact, outside after the first hard frost of the season (which came early this year YAY!!!) is the time when he feels the best, needs the least medication (none really, we discontinue all meds in the winter and he does all his growing then), and generally feels great. He plays ice hockey and snowboards for hours on end with no problems.

For my son there are also things that are "sudden triggers" where he's exposed to them and immediately starts coughing and having a hard time -- cigarette smoke is the most obvious of these. But most triggers show up gradually a few hours later, or that night when he's coughing so loud it sounds like a gunshot in his sleep. The one time we did have a "cold" related attack it was about 10 degrees farenheit and he was just getting over pneumonia (still on antibiotics). That attack was very sudden. Since then we've been in much colder weather (e.g. ski vacation in Maine last year) and he hasn't shown any signs of trouble.

So, I wouldn't assume that cold is a problem. But I'd watch carefully and see. If it seems like it might be I'd think about a "turtle" (like a tubular scarf) you can cover her mouth with to warm the air before it hits her lungs, that might help her.
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#7 of 30 Old 12-29-2008, 11:30 PM
 
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My son was diagnosed with asthma at 10 months old. He is now 4.5 years old. We live in Ohio and previously lived in Michigan. He has always been a snow baby. He loves sledding and playing in the snow. We go outside in the winter all the time. We spent Christmas Day in Michigan, sledding on a beautiful 24 degree day. Staying inside in the cold is simply not an option for us.

My son's asthma is usually well controlled with his maintenance medication (Pulmicort). He does need albuterol now and then, but he can play in the cold for an hour or so with no problem.

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#8 of 30 Old 12-29-2008, 11:37 PM
 
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We don't have any chronic lung problems, but 2 of mine have had pneumonia by the age of 4 (one had it twice). We've struggled with respiratory stuff that seems to linger forever. I think that it's actually Louisiana's climate--cold, then hot, then cold, then hot...humid all the time. It doesn't get cold enough to kill even the mosquitos, much less any bacteria. My mom used to say it was the east wind that brought sickness--maybe that was the signal of a weather change.
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#9 of 30 Old 12-29-2008, 11:51 PM
 
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My moderate/severe asthmatic was triggerred by cold when he was a little guy so he got used to wearing a scarf (usually fleece) over his nose and mouth. Now that he's older (12)and well controlled he plays ice hockey. (and we live in cold and at altitude)
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#10 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 12:06 AM
 
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I think it depends on what triggers your kid's problems.
It all depends on the kiddo

For us- ds has RAD (might be changed to asthma in the future). We do take him outside in the winter.... sometimes. He went out this weekend when it got really warm (60's!!). He'll go out for short bursts in the cold (20-30's).

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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#11 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 12:48 AM
 
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I just wanted to say HELLO! to the OP!
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#12 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 12:51 AM
 
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Megan has RAD and she loves winter - we see -10 here in winter and she will still go out if it is sunny. All bundled up. She often has reactions in winter due to colds/flu's/RSV and get croup frequently - the best thing for her is to take her outside, the cold air does wonders.
I've been a lifelong asthmatic and I long for winter, I hate summer its to humid and my lungs can't breath. Winter the air is dry and I can spend hours out in it - and be far more physically active then in summer
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#13 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 01:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Jenna! Hi! I miss you! How is my favorite Charlotte on Earth?
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#14 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 02:12 AM
 
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Lindsay, will he let you wrap a scarf around his face? I know, I know....sounds just foolish to try, but the scarf would keep some warm moisture in his airway and help counter the colder, drier air.
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#15 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 02:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I hadn't thought of the scarf/turtleneck idea, but it's a good one. I don't even think we OWN a scarf, but I'll pick one up tomorrow and try it.
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#16 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 02:32 AM
 
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I have really bad asthma. My pediatric pulmonologist always told me to wear a scarf over my mouth- so that the air warmed before being inhaled to prevent bronchospasms. I've seen loops of fleece that effectively do the same thing, and look much more child safe than a long scarf.
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#17 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 11:32 AM
 
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I hadn't thought of the scarf/turtleneck idea, but it's a good one. I don't even think we OWN a scarf, but I'll pick one up tomorrow and try it.
I'd get a turtleneck (the one that's not attached to a shirt) instead. A scarf wrapped around a toddler's neck is a choking incident waiting to happen.

But then, choking is my own personal paranoia -- I think every parent has one.
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#18 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 03:22 PM
 
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Well, Lindsay, I had written a bit yesterday about maybe finding or making a baby ski mask but then I deleted it after I (first laughed at the image in my head of a baby ski mask and then...) realized that Charlotte may be the only baby in the world that would be so compliant. But, maybe Gavin would get used to it? I suppose somewhere these things are made for small kiddos and probably very cute too.

And, to answer your question -- C is doing great! I won't hijack the thread so I'll PM you later!
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#19 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 03:44 PM
 
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3 1/2 y.o. son - RSV/double pneumonia at 10 months old, dx'ed with asthma the following winter. he's always been able to come off preventatives in the spring - but he's more of one to get bad symptoms once an illness has settled in his chest. i don't think the cold has much to do with it for him - as this year, it's the end of december and we haven't needed ANY medication!

i'd base it on your child - but re scarves/turtlenecks, my son wouldn't wear either but does tolerate a fleece neckwarmer - much safer too!
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#20 of 30 Old 12-30-2008, 06:18 PM
 
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We don't go outside, but it's more because of his dysautonomia than the lung stuff. The only issue we have with the o2 and the cold is that he's much more prone to nose bleeds. But we're never out in the cold so I have no idea what it would do for his lungs.
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#21 of 30 Old 12-31-2008, 08:54 PM
 
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No, not to play or be outside. Cold weather makes her worse. But that, of course, depends on the kid. If cold weather didn't affect her, we'd take her out.

-pixie, my dear, and (A-88), N-98, Littlest-06/00-08/00, J-03 & Little Miss Cotton Ball Button-03 (SN), S-05, Hope-loss 09/09, Bean-loss 04/10, and littlePopcorn due feb. 8th -11.
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#22 of 30 Old 01-02-2009, 12:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Took him out for half hour on Tuesday, and now he's super sick and back on his meds. Guess I have my answer.

Thanks for the advice, ladies.
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#23 of 30 Old 01-02-2009, 02:38 PM
 
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What a shame. It is such a cold/ flu bug time of year too. Sometimes the winter just seems like endless sickness.
My mom had chronic bronchitis as a kid and wore a scarf wrapped around her mouth. When she would breathe through it, it would warm up the air significantly. Such a pain to have breathing issues tied to air temp changes because so many places keep buildings sooo hot and the shock to the lungs is awful.
My boys aren't triggered by the cold with thier asthma. Actually , we would take them for a walk in the night when thier asthma was acting up and the meds weren't working fast enough. We discovered this when we would rush to the emergency... a 20 min drive away... and thier breathing would always be so much better. I thin that we are odd ones out in that regard though because docs always told us to avoid cold air or bundle to filter the air and make it warmer.

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#24 of 30 Old 01-02-2009, 03:05 PM
 
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Connor (laryngotracheobroncho malacia) flares up from dry air, so sometimes it's hot AND cold. When we turned our heat on for the winter, he had a bloody nose for the first few days, and his malacias started acting up. We just spent last week in Michigan where they have a ton of snow, but the air was much drier than where we live, and he ended up with bloody lips and a raspy cough. Nothing terrible, but dryness is definitely a trigger for him. We have a fire place in our house, but we have to limit his exposure because his little lungs can't handle it.

My mom would take my sister (asthma and symptomatic CF carrier) to stand in front of the freezer when her breathing would get bad at night, so the cold dry air of the freezer was good for her. My brother, though (recurrent bronchitis) she would take into a steamy bathroom (run the water on as hot as it would go) so he responded to hot moist air. Each kid is different, I guess.

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#25 of 30 Old 01-02-2009, 03:05 PM
 
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We have something called "Jonas mask" here, this is a picture (I couldn't really find a good picture). It helps many kids bc it warms up the air they breathe in.

-pixie, my dear, and (A-88), N-98, Littlest-06/00-08/00, J-03 & Little Miss Cotton Ball Button-03 (SN), S-05, Hope-loss 09/09, Bean-loss 04/10, and littlePopcorn due feb. 8th -11.
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#26 of 30 Old 01-02-2009, 07:15 PM
 
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Sydney starts coughing, so no, unfortunately...

-sarah-
mom to three, 4 and under.
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#27 of 30 Old 01-03-2009, 02:59 PM
 
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Youngest dd's asthma seems to flare when exposed to cold air, so no.

student/sahm to three awesome girls who are always on the go!
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#28 of 30 Old 01-04-2009, 01:37 AM
 
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Poor Gavin. HOpe he perks up soon.
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#29 of 30 Old 01-08-2009, 12:20 AM
 
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We're in Louisiana too and I'm struggling with this one!!! We just got out of the hospital on Monday for a collapsed lung and pnemonia. Our 3rd hospitalization in 18 months. Poor baby. I kept him inside all day today and he was so mad at me. But its SCARY!!! Especially since his health turns on a dime - very few signs.
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#30 of 30 Old 01-08-2009, 01:19 PM
 
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I'm in AZ, so it doesn't get too cold here, but we have lots of pollution. We are keeping dd in on days of high pollution as we think it is a trigger for her asthma. It's been hard on her, she loves to ride her bike and scooter with her brother. It's also been a little bit colder than usual, and that may also be bothering her lungs right now. She's on controller meds and rescue meds as needed, but we are still having issues keeping her asthma under control.
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