2 Inhalers, 1 ER and One daily...HELP!

Updated on May 05, 2008
K.R. asks from Toledo, OH
9 answers

My daughter was diagnosed last month with asthma. She has a Flovent inhaler that we use (2 puffs in the AM and 2 puffs in the PM) on a daily basis. We have an emergency inhaler, Albuterol, that we use on an emergency basis only...of course! My question is that my daughter has been sick off and on lately...moreso this week. She has been coughing more often and there are times that she has a rough coughing spell and I can't figure out if I should use the emergency inhaler just to be safe or not? We haven't used it yet,but I got it primed and ready since we didn't before. I'm scared that I'm not doing what I need to keep her safe and healthy. I am scared at night to fall asleep because of her cough and that she will stop breathing at night when I fall asleep! Can anyone help me or give some advise! I really could use the help and support! (My husband is gone for 2 days or more at a time with his job..this being one of those times!)

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answers from Indianapolis on

My first question is.....have you taken her to an allergist? This time of year is the worst and that is more than likely the result of the coughing being worse here lately. Second...have you tried any over-the-counter allergy meds? May want to try that first and if you don't see any improvement, go to allergist. Allergies always make asthma worse. Goodluck!!!

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answers from Dayton on

Use the albuterol. I have a son, a brother, and 2 nephews with asthma. I have had bronchitis that caused temporary asthma like symptoms and I can say from personal experience thank God for albuterol. She is having trouble right now because of allergies. My son was always worse in the fall because he struggled more with fall allergies. For a few weeks every fall he was miserable and used his inhaler at least once a day.

I wouldn't wait until her lungs were so irritated she can't find enough lung strength to cough. Some things to look for to evaluate if she needs the inhaler: Is she coughing when she tries to talk or exhale? That means her lungs are having difficulty pushing the air out of her lungs. Is her diaphragm moving alot with her breathing, sucking up and in and them pushing out? That means she working really hard to breath.

If she is having alot of trouble frequently you might want to take her in and see if she needs breathing treatments added to her current medications. They can give her a steroid in a breathing treatment that will reduce the inflamation in her lungs. I know the word steroid is scarry, but my nephew was on them during rough patches twice a day when he was going through a rough patch with his asthma and he suffered no side effects and it shortened the time of his suffering.

I wouldn't wait until she didn't even have the lung strength to cough. That means she is in a really bad spot. I would give her the albuterol now.



answers from Indianapolis on

Wow. Lots of advise. We have been deeling with respiratory problems with my son since newborn and he is now ten. We see a pulmonary specialist at Riley. I would recommend finding a specialist that will do the functions tests and explain what is happening with your child. My son, for instance, does not have sudden onset or activity induced. He does not wheeze but has terrible coughing fits because it is his lower airways that are affected. By doing the functions tests, the doctor could, in black and white, show me exactly how my son's asthma was affecting him and could also show how the meds help. We are taking Advair as a maintenance and albuterol "as needed". They tell us if he feels tight or uncomfortable to use it and when having an attack to use every 4 hours in addition to other meds. Don't be afraid of the meds but ask your doctor how is the asthma affecting your child. Is it upper airways? Lower airways? How do the meds work, when should they be used and what results should you expect to see from them. They get paid big money to know this stuff. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. That is what they are there for. Good Luck! It is a tough road at times but a very managable one.



answers from Cincinnati on

It is safe to use albuterol, but using it more than twice a week is a sign that your asthma is not well controlled. This is according to the NIH guidelines for asthma. I am a pharmaceutical rep and sell respiratory products to allergists, pulmonologists and pediatricians. Asthma is 2 things: inflammation and bronchoconstriction. The recommended first line treatment for asthma is an inhaled steroid, such as Flovent (although there are many others on the market.) However, that only treats the inflammation part of asthma. If you have signs that your asthma is uncontrolled, such as nightime awakenings, using more albuterol, trips to the er, etc. then you may want to talk with your doctor about stepping up the treatment to a combination medicine. A combo will have the inhaled steroid, but also a long acting beta agonist, which treats the bronchoconstriction. It is a longer acting albuterol, esentially (albuterol is a short acting beta agonist.) I would definately take your daughter to a specialist, probably an allergist since she seems to have allergic triggers. If you need any recommendations I know all of the docs in the area from calling on them for work.



answers from Indianapolis on

Albuterol is one of the safest drugs out there.....My daughter is an asthmatic and she is on Flovent and Albuterol....when she is sleeping and starts to have a continuos cough......you know the one....where she coughs and about 30 seconds later coughs again....her lungs are starting to struggle a little...the Albuterol will help relax her lungs and she will be able to breathe easier. My daughter is 4 yrs old and was diagnosed when she was 1.5 yrs old. We have been to the ER many many times even hospitalized 3 times.....since I started giving her Albuterol more liberally she hasn't needed to go to the ER in almost 9 months. My advise would be to get your daughter into a good Pulmonary doctor, Riley has some really good ones.



answers from Cincinnati on

As someone whoes worked in a pharmacy for 10 years I would only use the albuterol if she's wheezing or seems uncomfortable breathing. Make sure that she rinses her mouth out EVERY time she uses ANY inhaler... They leave a residue in the throat that can cause many irritaions... such as cough, among other things... I would suggest drinking a glass of water. Hope that helps, unfortuantly I have witnessed a near death asthma attack and know that it's nothing to take lightly.



answers from Youngstown on

I have had asthma since childhood. Albuterol helps alot, but doesn't really control the symptoms. The flovent didn't do anything for me.
The best product I have ever come across is once daily Singulair. I haven't had an attack since I started 3 yrs ago.
You may also want to ask your doctor about a nebulizer. The treatments will reduce her coughing spells greatly. Good Luck and God Bless



answers from Columbus on

Very scary stuff, I'm sure. But it sounds like you are doing everything to keep your little one safe and healthy.

My understanding from my cousin who has worked as a respiratory therapist and developed adult asthma herself, though, is that the coughing is OK (if uncomfortable for all). It's wheezing, or seeming unable to cough that is the real cause for concern, and that is when to use the emergency inhaler. In fact, I think one of the side effects of albuterol is coughing. Remember, coughing is the lungs trying to work things out. It's not *bad* per se.

As for nighttime, how old is your daughter? My experience for those who have asthma is that it will wake you. If she's not an infant, there's no risk of a spontaneous stop in breathing in the way there is with crib death. (Although, I understand. I still check the 7-year-old and 3-year-old to be sure the chests rise and fall before I drop off). But in reality, kids who are mobile and can get out of bed and communicate have time to do so, even with an asthmatic attack. If she's old enough to get out of bed and go to the bathroom or communicate a bad dream, it really is OK (and healthy for all) for you to sleep, and I'm sure you'll eventually get there. It's healthier for everyone if you sleep, though. If mama ain't rested ... ain't nobody happy!

My whole household has allergies, although no asthma (so far, cross fingers), and we all have terrible hacking coughs right now. Asthma is often linked to allergies, and this is the pollen time of year.

Honestly, I would be reluctant to use the emergency inhaler "to be safe." My advice is to save it for real emergencies. If you use it out of fear, there is a real risk she will become dependent on it to cope day to day. And those medications can cause long-term health problems of their own.



answers from Cleveland on

Speaking for myself, who has asthma - use the albuterol if you feel it will calm her lungs. I use it when I feel like I can't get a good breath, or when I sense myself becoming anxious. Stress can trigger my asthma and so can excessive worrying. So, please now that you will NOT hurt her by giving the albuterol. I tend to use mine once a day during a cold. All it basically does is relax the blood vessels in the lungs to promote better breathing. They don't want you using it daily since it is a fast acting inhaler whereas your flovent is not as quick, but rather will help strengthen your daughters breathing over time. Make sure your daughter is drinking agter the Flovent, as that is very drying and can trigger a cough due to dry throat as well.

Hope I could offer some help or a peace of mind to know that the albuterol will NOT hurt her - use it and see if it works - you have it for a reason. =)

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