Asthma/reactive airway disease/allergies? - Mothering Forums
Allergies > Asthma/reactive airway disease/allergies?
feminist~mama's Avatar feminist~mama 10:31 PM 02-24-2010
Alright mamas- help me out!

My DD is 11 years old and has a somewhat checkered, although generally fairly benign history with allergies. She's had a bit of a rash since she was a baby. It doesn't irritate her, and we've really not done to much about it. I took her to her ped at the time, who suggested a steroid cream, which I thought was a bit of an over-reaction...

We cut out all dairy when she was 2 or 3 years for a few months. It did seem to make her rash a tiny bit better, but we love cheese, and the improvement was slight- so the dairy-free living didn't last to long. So she lives with the rash, which is mainly on her thighs/upper arms/sometimes abdomen.

She has also had a runny nose- oh, for 6 or 7 years now. Always clear mucous, fairly persistent, no other real symptoms. I have terrible allergies, as does my dad, so it wasn't surprising to me. We did some allergy skin testing last year and she only showed positive for dust and dust mites. I, on the other hand, am allergic to nature in general! Anyway, I took the stuffies out of her room, covered her mattress and pillow, made attempts to vacuum more often (we rent, so no possibility for wood floors) and she started on Claritin. It helped a bit, but nothing super impressive.

Then I picked her up from school one day about 9 months ago and she was wheezing and tired and her back hurt, etc. So we went into her ped and her O2 sats were in the low 90's. They gave her a breathing treatment, started her on a 5-day course of Prednisone, gave her an Albuterol inhaler, and prescribed 5mg of Singular daily. She went in for a chest x-ray and had another breathing treatment the next day. Everything cleared up and things were good. No official diagnosis of asthma and life went on. I think the end diagnosis was simply an exacerbation of allergies which resulted in an asthmatic-type episode.

She's been taking the Claritin and Singular since this episode. She's run out of the Singular a couple of times for a day or two (I'm a rotten mother, I know) and it really seems like her wheezing comes back without fail and she ends up using the Albuterol.

Yesterday she had another acute episode. Her ped couldn't get her in, so we went to urgent care and she had a breathing treatment, more Prednisone, cough syrup for her new cough, and antibiotics for an ear infection (which had been totally asymptomatic!).

So I guess I'm just trying to figure out where to go from here. Honestly, I'm a labor nurse and don't know much about standard treatment for whatever it is that she has. I really HATE that she's on daily medication and I'm not excited about an asthma label. I'm aware that they are thinking it's asthma if she's taking Singular, but I've just ignored that.

But now that she's had two acute episodes, I'm wondering if maybe she needs a different regimen. We've tried a few more "natural" remedies in the past few years- she ate local honey daily for a few months with no improvement and we tried nettles as well, but that didn't do much either. Of course, this was before her first episode...

Any ideas?

brandislee's Avatar brandislee 03:59 AM 02-25-2010
Okay, so bear with me here. My kids are MUCH younger than yours (they are 3 and 16 months) but have had the EXACT symptoms that your daughter has exhibited, only in a shorter period of time. My daughter had the rash/runny nose/ear infection/coughing nonsense and my son had all of that plus the wheezing. Same thing- they gave him breathing treatments and albuterol (no steroids, though). This persisted for months... like at any given time they either had an ear infection or at least massive fluid in their ears and seemed to be fighting constant colds, intermittent skin rashes, and of course the wheezing. But (and I can't remember why...) I suspected food allergies all along. Finally the doctor sent them to be blood tested (BTW, when they poke tested your daughter did they even test her for food allergens? If not, you may ask about a blood test, it's easier). Turns out they're both allergic to dairy and my son is allergic to wheat.

So that may still be the cause. If it is dairy you may not have seen a drastic improvement in the rash if you didn't eliminate ALL dairy (were you reading labels? There's dairy in EVERYTHING). OR it could be wheat. Although symptoms can totally vary from person to person wheat allergy often manifests with respiratory symptoms. And don't start freaking out (because I did when I found out). At the very least a wheat allergy is easier to work with than a gluten intollerance.

But whatever the cause, I feel your pain and wish you good luck!
feminist~mama's Avatar feminist~mama 04:08 AM 02-25-2010
I was reading labels- we live in a really vegan friendly area, so there were lots of easy-to-find substitutes...

She wasn't tested for food allergies. Honestly, I wasn't so impressed with her allergy testing results. I was a bit skeptical that she could have such intense reactions to dust/dust mites and wasn't positive for anything else. I mean, isn't *everyone* allergic to dust???

I'll talk with her ped about food allergy testing- thanks for the reminder!
zech13_9_goforgold's Avatar zech13_9_goforgold 04:31 AM 02-25-2010
I had lots of symptoms like your dd through my growing up years but didn't show up allergic to anything but dust and ragweed. It was only when I was older that I started showing up allergic to lots of other things.

Also, I would try switching her from Claritin to Zertec as they are different medications that do the same thing. My body does better on Zertec. It's generic name is Cetirizine, which you can buy massive amounts of for really cheap on Amazon (as compared to store brands).

It may be just her sinuses that are triggering her runny nose, which is then triggering her asthma. I know that I have a highly sensitive nose for sinus problems- lots of sinus infections when I was little. Have you noticed any pattern with her sinuses? Does she get worse when it's cloudy/rainy or when your cooking strong foods (spice, onions...)? I used to have uncontrolled asthma that was easily triggered (PM me if you want more details) by my runny nose. I've found that a sutifed on cloudy days and keeping away from cooking spicy foods has helped my nose and lungs a lot.

I agree with you that the term "athma" is probably used too much. I also hesitate to label her asthmatic yet. I agree that you should look into food allergies, but also try to get control of her nose problems. It's probably her nose that's setting off everything else (except the rash).

Have you taken her to a skin doctor about the rash? It may be something non allergy related.
Theloose's Avatar Theloose 07:39 PM 02-25-2010
How is she on nutrients? Does she get plenty of folate (not folic acid), does she eat meat (for the B12)? Do beets turn her pee pink (so she might not be absorbing B12)? Does she eat lots of lentils/beans/peas for the molybdenum?
Up