46 answers

Breathing Treatments

Has anyone had to do breathing treatments on their child (mine who is about to turn 1)due to a cold that turned into a cough ? My son had a cold which very quickly turned into a cough , and when I took him to the doctor she said she could hear wheezing. Is this a common answer for this ? I don't remember this answer with my daughter who is 4 . I had some concerns since she said it speeds up their heart rate a little , plus it's breathing in all of that medicine . Is this the answer now since you can't use childrens cold/cough tylenol ?

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So What Happened?™

I'd just like to say Thank You all for your feedback . This is great!! I have learned so much . I did complete the breathing treatments and he seems to be doing much better . I just felt concerned because my sons doctor is so quick with us (talking to you with one foot out the door) that I felt the need to hear from experienced mothers . Gain some knowledge. Which I did. To hear something like that when you are not familiar with it (no one in my family has had to do that) I was quite suprised and a little nervous . The doctor said he had bronchiolitis and he used pulmicort and albuterol . Now I feel much more knowledgeable thanks to all of your responses. Thank you all!!

Featured Answers

Hi there,
My daughters had the same thing happen to them when they were little. The Ped. wanted to put them on inhalers 3 weeks out of a month for viral onset asthma. I said no way. I took them both off of cow's milk and they have never experienced wheezing since. When they get a bad cold with a cough, I rub Vicks Vapor Rub on the bottoms of their feet and they sleep soundly with no coughing. I would serious consider an alternative to the inhalers.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

My name is M. and I had to do the same to my son when he was 3. It was RSV with my son as he had a high fever and also his breathing was affected. I did the treatments and they really helped him. I was terrified for him but he seemed to improve much quicker with the treatments. I think anytime the Dr. hears wheezing, especially in a child under 1, they fear RSV or pneumonia, which I believe to be much worse than the treatments themselves. Nico is fine now and has had no other problems that severe since (Thank Goodness!).

I hope that this helped.

Take care,
M.:)

SAHM of Nico-4 & Ava-2

1 mom found this helpful

both my kids needed nebulizer treatments when they were under the age of 2 or 3. They only needed it when they had bad colds, etc. and grew out of it.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hi S.,

Different medications have different functions. Tylenol has several different products for cough and cold. All of these contain acetominophen for fever reduction, and some combination of chlorpheniramine maleate
(an antihistamine to "dry up" mucus production), dextromethorphan HBr (a cough suppressant) and phenylephrine HCl (a nasal decongestant).

If your baby is/was wheezing, this means that the that lining of the bronchi and bronchioli (the "tubes" inside the lungs) are inflammed (swollen) so that air cannot flow easily. Often, the small muscles surrounding these tubes are spasming as well, so the tubes become more narrow and can't dilate (open). To get an idea of this, take a narrow rubber or polypropylene tube and blow through it: listen to the sound and pitch of the air going through. Now, pinch the tube so that it is almost blocked and blow through it again. Not only is it more difficult to pass air through the tube, but the pitch is higher. This is like the wheezing that the doctor is hearing.

Inflammation cannot be treated with the medication in Tylenol, although it can be treated with ibuprofen (motrin, advil, etc.) However, ibuprofen does not cross into the lungs well (and it doesn't do anything to relax the muscles surrounding the breathing passages) so a "topical" treatment is best, which is the breathing treatment. You don't mention what medication was given, but I'll guess it was some variant of albuterol, which helps to dilate the bronchi and bronchioli by relaxing those little muscles, which opens up the passages so air can flow more easily. For inflammation, the doctor should have also prescribed either inhaled cromolyn sodium (intal) or a corticosteroid (such as Flovent or Azmacort). Inhaled steroids for short-term use will not hurt your child, however hypoxia (low oxygen level) can.

So, yes, give the inhalers to your baby. Chances are good that the wheezing are short term and related to the viral infection causing the cold. Once the cold clears up, the wheezing should too. However, this could be an early indication of possible allergies, so keep an eye on your child's breathing after eating. If it seems more labored it is possible that there is an allergic component to the wheeze and you should eliminate likely allergic culprits to figure out what's going on. The most common allergens for young children are eggs, milk, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, fish, soy and corn, so these are good places to start, depending on what your child had at the meal that exacerbated the symptoms.

Even if there is an allergy involve, though, symptoms may only occur when your child has a cold, as the viral infection can push mild allergies "over the edge" to generate symptoms that the child might not have otherwise.

One person mentioned that breathing treatments are for asthma. While this is completely true, they may be used for transitory (temporary) breathing problems as well. Some really excellent research (Boyano et al., if memory serves me, and probably some papers by Robert Hamilton) have shown that early wheezers (children under 5 yrs old) have a very high likelihood of outgrowing their wheezing and never developing true asthma.

BTW, a note about the changing attitude toward doctors. I've noticed that, unlike the godlike respect for MDs that was common in our parents' generation, we tend to be more skeptical and distrustful of medications prescribed by physicians. I think it is important to keep in mind that doctors are VERY smart people and have a wealth of knowledge accumulated through, at a minimum, 10 years of postcollege education and training. Most are not in it for the money and truly follow the Hippocratic oath, the main component of which states "and first, do no harm." While it is always important to question a doctor's opinion and seek an alternative, especially for a major illness, if something just doesn't make sense or feel right, remember also that you wouldn't have taken yourself or your child in the first place if you didn't trust and respect their medical knowledge and desire to heal. Modern medicine is not bad, drug companies are not completely out to make a buck (although, like any company, they do need to make a profit) and natural is not always best. After all, we now live on average 40 years longer than we did 200 years ago. That is because of the advances made in the fields of medicine.

Hope this information has been useful to you!

2 moms found this helpful

My niece got pneumonia and had to breathing treatments for a couple weeks after she was out of the hospital. She also has asthma so every once in awhile, especially on very hot/humid days, we have to give her a breathing treatment. It does speed up her heart a little, but just for awhile. They really help open up her lungs and allow her to breathe much easier. I think they do more good than harm for her.

1 mom found this helpful

Wheezing and coughing are two very different things. Coughing can be caused by post nasal drip as well as lung congestion. Wheezing is caused by blocked airways. The treatment your child recieved is the only way to get medication into those blocked airways so he can get air into them.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear S.,

This is not my area of expertise - and I am long past this stage in my own life (2 of my children will be in college this fall!) - but I thought I would share my experiences with you.

I do not believe this is due to the inavailability of Children's Tylenol Cough and Cold - the key here is the fact that the doctor heard a wheeze when she listened to his chest. My son had some wheezing at two and the doctor said it was RSV and my son had breathing treatments for it. My nephew had a chronic cough that no one could "fix" - that was finally diagnosed as asthma and both he and later his sister needed breathing treatments for THAT . . . She isn't treating the COUGH as much as what it may be causing it (and the wheeze she heard) - your daughter just never went through something that needed to be treated with a medicine given in this manner. (btw, my son could have taken Albuterol orally in liquid form, but because my sister-in-law had two machines for my niece and nephew, we borrowed one temporarily - the medicine works better and faster given this way)

Oh, and one more thing - my son also told me once when he was Jr High that he was wheezing - I let it go for a bit - and when I took him to the doctor finally, she told me I should have listened to him. She said he had "seasonal" asthma. He spent the winter using a nebulizer. I didn't know if this meant he would need the medication every winter, but he has never needed it since (he is now in college)

Good luck!
B.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there,
My daughters had the same thing happen to them when they were little. The Ped. wanted to put them on inhalers 3 weeks out of a month for viral onset asthma. I said no way. I took them both off of cow's milk and they have never experienced wheezing since. When they get a bad cold with a cough, I rub Vicks Vapor Rub on the bottoms of their feet and they sleep soundly with no coughing. I would serious consider an alternative to the inhalers.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

My name is M. and I had to do the same to my son when he was 3. It was RSV with my son as he had a high fever and also his breathing was affected. I did the treatments and they really helped him. I was terrified for him but he seemed to improve much quicker with the treatments. I think anytime the Dr. hears wheezing, especially in a child under 1, they fear RSV or pneumonia, which I believe to be much worse than the treatments themselves. Nico is fine now and has had no other problems that severe since (Thank Goodness!).

I hope that this helped.

Take care,
M.:)

SAHM of Nico-4 & Ava-2

1 mom found this helpful

Does she want you to do the treatments just this once, or with all future colds/coughs?

I'm assuming you're talking about Albuterol, and it's a harmless lung medication that's been on the market for many, many years. The only downfall is that it does speed up the heart rate, but for my son, it wasn't a problem most of the time. (It can make them feel jittery and have a little trouble sleeping when given at every 4 hours. We always tried to time it so that we didn't give a treatment right before bedtime and instead gave it to him while he was asleep...) Are you giving the treatments every 6 hrs. or every 4 hrs.? It's a special medication that opens up the airways and reduces inflammation so they can breathe easier. As another poster mentioned, it has nothing to so with the cold/cough tylenol. This treatment is taking care of his constricted airway and the tylenol cannot do that. Some doctors try to prescrible liquid Albuterol, but I went to an asthma workshop with a bunch of board certififed asthma specialists and they were all snorting and laughing about that---said it was a joke and in order to give them enough to make a difference you'd have to OD the child. You have a good doctor who truly recognized how to deal with your child's wheezing. Good luck and I hope it's just this one time!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi S.,

You may want to consider using the nebulizer with either Xopenex or Pulmicort...but contact your pediatrician first prior to it's use. I use it for both my boys 3 & 4 & it works VERY well. Hope all goes well.

-S.

1 mom found this helpful

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