22 Month on Albuterol for More than 2 Weeks

Updated on May 17, 2016
S.F. asks from Omer, MI
13 answers

My son was hospitalized over 2 weeks ago for his breathing issues. When he got out we went about a week and a half with albuterol treatment about twice a day. When I was certain his breathing was back to normal I stopped the treatment. The very next day he is sick again and I noticed really fast breathing timed his breathing and he was over 40 breaths per minute, did a breathing treatment and called the pediatrician in the morning. He added a month steroid given through the nebulous or and children's Allegra and said continue with the albuterol as needed. We started out every six hours the next day only three times per day for 3 days and finally down to just morning and night. I didn't notice wheezing as much as the hard coughing, coughing fits when active and a lot of nasal and chest congestion that he is not coughing up very good. I have been treating him for that congestion and cough but he has been basically on albuterol everyday for about 2 and a half weeks. I sometimes second guess myself and I feel like this is going to hurt him for being on it this long. Tonight was the last night I am giving him the albuterol, but has anyone gone through this with their young one?
MORE INFO: The albuterol is supposed to be temporary as his breathing issues are due to his upper respiratory infections. He just keeps getting them. He seems to be getting better, I am not noticing as much congestion in his chest or problems breathing which is why I decided to discontinue use, unless I notice something different in the morning. He has surgery to have tubes in his ears in the morning and they will be doing a full check up prior to the surgery so I will know for sure. If they notice anything I will be going to the pediatricians with more questions. He is being treated with medication for children with asthma but not diagnosed with asthma. He is only asthmatic when he gets really bad upper respiratory infections which he has had for 3 weeks. He is in daycare full time so he is sick all the time just one of those things we have to deal with.

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So What Happened?

Everyone at the hospital checked his breathing and said he sounded fine, this is without the albuterol. I will not stop his steroids because I was told to give it to him for 1 month. Apparantly the one thing I forgot to mention was that I was not told to continue with the albutorel for a certain period of time. I was only told if or as needed. I have been trying to stay ahead by giving it to him to treat symptoms we notice that are similar to the ones he had before when he was last sick but as we done before once the congestion / wheezing is gone we stop the treatments and it is not needed (albuterol treatments only.) that is until he gets his next bad cold. This is the first time we went this long so I was Concerned about long term use, but some of the info below helped when I was up late worrying about it. FYI I did contact the ENT the day before to see if it would be a problem with the meds he was on and if we should post pone the surgery. They said it shouldn't be an issues and they would evaluate him when he arrived. He is not having issues all day long. But over 6 months of breathings treatments for a few days here and there when ever he got a virus we learned what to listen for and start the breathing treatments right away. We are proactive and definately stay on top of it. and I know there is a possibility he could develop asthma especially after the last Bad virus. Doctors did mention this to us. We knew we would have to deal with this for a long time since he had RSV at 1. and I have to comment on the daycare comment below, obviously your kid has never been in daycare. They do teach good hygiene and so do we. And if we kept our kids home with every runny nose or cough we would be out of a job. We keep them home when there is a fever or any other noticeable serious illness all daycares have strict rules and I wouldn't send my child to daycare if he was very ill, but sometimes systems don't appear until after they have already infected other students. I have come to terms with the fact that unless I put my child in a protective bubble it can not be avoided and like with my daughter his immune system will get stronger. So I stand by what I say, it's just something we have to deal with.

More Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

I have asthma. I have since I was a child. Last winter, I got really sick. My rescue inhaler wasn't working and I ended up in the emergency room. My pulse ox was 82. I couldn't breathe. The doctor immediately ordered a breathing treatment, and rechecked me after. It came up to 92. So he ordered another treatment. There wasn't even 1 hour in between. I asked him if that was safe, and his response to me was "we run these on infants for 12+ hours if needed, yes its safe". I understand how it seems like a lot, but there is no worse feeling than not being able to breathe. Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

We have been dealing with this ourselves and this past winter was the absolute worst. My daughter is a teenager and her asthma was being triggered repeatedly all of a sudden by mini colds. She was going through albuterol rescue inhalers like crazy and then I had to pull out the nebulizer that we had not used since she was a toddler.

Since then we have worked with an allergist and a pulmonlogist. The allergist corrected her dose of Flovent that was appropriate for her age and also has her on prescription antihistamines since Allegra, Claritin and Zyrtec were not working anymore. Flovent is a preventative medication and hopefully she will get off of it.

We are preparing to go through the round two stage of allergy testing and then begin immunotherapy if there are any red flags.

In addition, she did have a renewed food panel done. There were a few more things to add to the list that could have possibly been triggers for her.

She has had many sinus infections over the years and yes, colds are to blame for triggering her asthma. Asthma sufferers have delicate immune systems which makes them more susceptible to picking up colds....in middle school it is a breeding ground for germs --- so this school year has been very rough.

I would keep going with the nebulizer and the inhaler. Definitely get a chest X-ray to see what the wheezing is all about.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Friends of mine went through this for a year with their 1 year old. He was on the nebulizer for 3 weeks at a time, then off for maybe a week, then sick again and back on for a week. It got so bad that he was going to the nebulizer on his own, knowing he needed it to breathe. He had major allergies, like his mother. Like you, they were worried about long term use of the steroids but they didn't know what else to do. They wound up using a food-based formula for strengthening his immune system and he never had a problem again. But during this horrible year, they definitely needed to do the treatments for more than 2 weeks at a time.

ETA: Based on your added info, I'm not sure you can really hear if he's congested without a stethoscope and some preliminary medical training. Often there are secretions and inflammation that aren't detectable by the parent just eye-balling the child. If he's having tubes put in, and he's having anesthesia, I wouldn't discontinue the breathing treatments on my own. If you don't trust the pediatrician, get another one, or a pulmonary specialist. Just because your child doesn't have asthma doesn't mean he doesn't need the treatments - these are often used for kids with other breathing/respiratory issues. My friends' son didn't have asthma but he definitely had breathing problems and significant inflammation.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm sorry you're having to worry about all of this! My son was around that same age when he had his first asthma episode. He has viral-induced asthma, meaning it typically only affects him when he's sick, rather than when he is running around. Anyway, we got a nebulizer. When he was healthy, we would give him Pulmicort once a day. This is a preventative medication that helped keep his lungs open in general, so that when he did get sick, he was less likely to have breathing problems. As soon as we thought we noticed a cold coming on, we would increase the Pulmicort to twice a day until the symptoms subsided. Finally, if a breathing problem did occur, we would add albuterol as needed, sometimes giving both albuterol and pulmicort in the same treatment.

They typically won't give an official asthma diagnosis until age 4 or 5. Around age 5, you can probably switch from the nebulizer to an inhaler with a chamber (a connecting tube that makes it easier to inhale the medication). Younger kids just don't take the inhaler as well. Now that we use an inhaler, our preventative medication is Q-Var.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Just because he isn't wheezing doesn't mean you can stop the treatment. Asthma is more than just wheezing so since he's still coughing please keep him on the medication. From this point forward he might has asthma every time he has a cold or congestion.

If you have no experience with asthma or nebulizers it can be overwhelming since you can't really see if its really working. Make sure you contact the peds office if you have any questions or even need a little hand holding.

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answers from Norfolk on

In this situation you have to keep up with the medication as long as the doctor says you have to - and not stop when you think his breathing is 'back to normal'.
When they are little, their breathing passages are very small and can clog up easily.
In a few more years as he grows it might be less of an issue - but for right now you HAVE to stay on top of it.
Right now - the meds help as a preventative of an attack.
And preventing an attack is better than dealing with weeks of an infection.
The kid needs to breathe - THAT'S more important than how long he's on any med.

Our son had pneumonia at 14 months.
It seemed like he was on meds for a long time but I stayed on it.
By the time he was 3 he was much better and things really got a whole lot better once we had his tonsils and adenoids out right after he turned 4 yrs old.
After that he rarely got sick and he now has no asthma or breathing issues (he's 17 now).

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

Aww, I'm so sad to read your son is having such problems! it sounds like the medication they have given him is helping, since you've been able to back down to just am & pm with the Albuterol.

So, a few quick facts about Albuterol & the steroids - Albuterol is a short acting medication, that when given in an inhaler or nebulizer, has a local effect on the muscles in the lungs - helping the spasms to relax. Because it is short acting, it will have a rapid effect, and only last a short while, which is why it is sometimes dosed multiple times per day. It can also be used "PRN", which means "as needed", such as for people who have exercise-caused asthma symptoms. It is considered a relatively safe drug, but don't exceed the doses the doctor prescribed (even PRN will have a limit per day).

The steroid medication is given the same way, but it acts as an anti-inflammatory on the lung tissue - helping to relax the inflammation which is causing the breathing spasms. It does NOT have an immediate effect, and is usually given over the period of several days, to make sure that the medication has had the desired effect, & had enough time to prevent a recurrence as soon as the medication is stopped. It is important to take the steroid medication regularly as prescribed, and is not prescribed PRN.

The Allegra your doctor prescribed was most likely to address the nasal & chest congestion that is making the symptoms worse, to get that under control. All 3 medications can then work together to get him on the road to recovery.

Regarding giving your child asthma medications without an asthma diagnosis - there is a difference between a disease state & symptoms, but you can't have the disease without the symptoms. The medications are designed to work on the body in specific ways, to deal with the symptoms. Patients who have asthma disease will need to be on those medications long-term, to prevent the flare-up of symptoms that the disease causes. But respiratory infections & allergies can also cause these symptoms. So, don't be concerned so much with the disease states that the medications are typically used for, because what they are really targeting are the symptoms your son is experiencing.

Whether or not your child does have asthma is not something that can be diagnosed simply by having breathing episodes - because there are many causes for those symptoms that needs to be diagnosed with a physical exam & a lung function test. This is important because even though the treatment for the immediate symptoms may be the same, other treatments for the cause of the symptoms might be different. There is a test where a medication (Methacholine) is given at very small doses, to cause a reaction. Only patients with asthma & COPD will have a reaction (albuterol is given to reverse it as soon as it occurs).

A lot of information, sorry for the book. But it sounded like you were looking for more information on some of the treatments for your son, so I hope some of this is helpful for you, to understand what is being prescribed & why, & maybe give you some background information to have further conversations with your pediatrician. Hope you little one feels better soon! T. :)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My granddaughter was prescribed albuterol for cold induced asthma. You describe all the symptoms of asthma. I suggest he has asthma when he has those symptoms. The albuterol is a rescue inhaler to be used only when a child has the symptoms you describe. As my granddaughter got older she had symptoms durinh exercise, as well as allergies to trees and some plants as well as peanuts asthma. Her asthma specialist ran tests and prescribed a maintenance inhaler to be used everyday. One of the tests measures her lung capacity.

The albuterol is safe to use for as long as the child has the symptoms you describe. However, if he needs it a couple of times everyday, his asthma is not well controlled. I suggest you consult with an allergy and asthma specialist.

My granddaughter is now 15 and able to know when to take the albuteral. What she describes is a tight feeling in her chest and a cough. If she doesn't use the albuteral soon enough she feels it getting harder to breathe. Eventually, others can hear her wheeze. When she was a toddler, I could feel a bit of the wheezing. I could also hear it when I put my ear on her chest.

I suggest that you get more information from his doctor. The doctor should be able to describe the symptoms for which the albuterol is needed. Since your son has been diagnosed with asthma like symptoms caused by an upper respiratory virus, I suggest you read about asthma to get a better understanding of how this affects the lungs.

My pregnant 35 yo pregnant daughter was diagnosed with asthma. Once she delivers, the asthma may go away or not. Until then, she takes Qvar twice daily. Your son may be helpd by adding Qvar.

Asthma.is related to more than one condition. Your son's asthma is viral. My daughter's is the result of pregnancy. Hopefully when her hormones level out she won't have asthma. My granddaughter's is caused by a virus,.exercise, and allergies. She was first diagnosed with asthma caused by viruses. Her asthma symptoms increased when she exercised or exposed to allergens.

Talk with your son's doctor until you understanding what is going on.

The anesthesiologist will know if he still has congestion in his lungs.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Please DO NOT discontinue the albuterol without your pediatrician's directions to do so. It sounds like you need to see the pediatrician regularly to have him evaluate your son.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Your son's problem sounds serious. If you haven't yet, find a pediatric pulmonologist. (I hope I wrote that right.) You need more than just a pediatrician right now.

I'm a little concerned about them putting him under when he's having trouble breathing. Are you sure you want to do that right now? Make sure you tell the surgeon/anesthesiologist exactly what's going on...

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It's VERY important for you to follow medical advice (unless you strongly disagree personally or religiously) with this. My kids have been on the nebulizer for weeks at a time in the past, they all knew how to use it around the age of 1 on their own. Sometimes it takes longer for this stuff to work...and breathing is kind of important!

The only other thing I would say is that your son should not be sick all the time because he is in full-time daycare. That's kind of like thinking everyone should be sick all of the time because they are in school, at work, in public. Teach your son to wash his hands, not share food, don't put things in his mouth, etc. Talk to the day care about the importance of making sick kids stay home. Health isn't something to play with.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I really feel bad your son is suffering so much. Most of us don't know about the effects of toxins in our homes. It could be your cleaning products or your personal care products. Even when you are not cleaning, they are still out-gassing into the atmosphere; walk down the aisle in the store where you shop and smell the nice smells. Even though boxes are sealed, bottles have caps, they are still out-gassing. My son as an infant came down with Eczema (culprit Tide) and my allergies were pretty bad. I found products that were non-toxic and organic and the family members who were affected with products in our home became much better. I am glad I was able to change what I used because the long-term effects that can go without notice until we fall sick. Let me share a video called 'Toxic Brew' that alerted me to the how we were being affected. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-SW-iZwCWE (done by a Canadian group). You see, here in the USA, the FDA only controls food and drugs. I also found 'The Air in Your House is More Toxic Than The Air Outside!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAdSXIX_LCo&feature=re...

I found a store that helped me to change our lifestyle. Doctors are trained to treat after the fact and not preventive; some are learning. Hope the videos will help you change the environment in your home.



answers from New York on

If doctor said stop ok. If he did not, don't stop. You will set him back!!! He obviously needs it.
Prevention is the key here or he will be back in the hospital.

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