Albuterol? - Millbury,OH

Updated on August 09, 2011
B.F. asks from Millbury, OH
10 answers

I'm new to asthma. My DD is 3 and on pulmicort twice daily and altuberol as needed. She had a slight fever of 100 and dry cough on Friday and Saturday AM. What confuses me is how do you know it's necessary to give albuterol? How can you tell the difference between a cough with a cold or a cough that you should be concerned about? She had a dry cough but sounded like it was tight or hard for her to cough. I started albuterol yesterday twice, once in the AM and once in the PM and that helped with her cough sounding more productive. I've asked the allergist this question but didn't receive a good answer. She essentially told me to just treat coughs connected with breathing issues....but how can you tell before the wheeze and retraction? My understanding is that once it's to that point, you waited too long. So confused! Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to give it to her if it isnt needed, but not give it to her if it is. She is also on Singular, can she still require albuterol even on singular?Thanks.

To update, she does use a nebulizer and we have an action plan through her pediatric allergist. I have not spoken with a pulminary dr.

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answers from Boston on

Maintenance meds are designed to keep asthma in control so instead of needing albuterol multiple times a day you only have the occasional flare they are long lasting and DO NOT treat asthma attacks so YES she still will require albuterol. You really should see a pulmonologist for asthma.
Do you have an asthma action plan? You need one and everyone who cares for her should have a copy. My oldest is 9 he requires a nebulizer with albuterol every 4 hrs when he has a cold to keep him from getting out of control. Are you using inhalers or nebulizers? Nebulizers work much better in my opinion. You will learn to be able to tell the difference between a cold cough and an asthma cough over time. What type of asthma does she have? I have cough variant asthma I don't wheeze my only symptomis a dry barking cough that does not stop until I use albuterol. These are all things a pulmonologist can go over with you in great detail.

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answers from Honolulu on

I have had asthma since childhood.

Albuterol... is a Bronchodilator.
It is used to open up the airways... when it is constricted/inflamed and the person is laboring to breathe etc.
It does NOT.... reduce mucus. It is NOT... for mucus.

ANY cold, can affect Asthma. Or make it turn into an asthma attack.
Or, affect the airways. Or affect breathing.

Kids, may present different symptoms than adults, per Asthma.

A 'cough' can be due to colds or Asthma.
Asthma, is also often triggered by colds.
Because any cold does affect the airways.

You NEED, to be real observant.... of your child with asthma.
It does not matter if there is mucus or not. Asthma occurs even without mucus.
IF your child is laboring to breathe or the chest cannot inhale fully... or she is turning blue or breathing shallow or is wheezing... you need to give her her Asthma meds.

Pulmicort, is a steroidal asthma med. Cortosteroids, work to reduce inflammation, too. Per Asthma. It is necessary.
Albuterol and Pulmicort, is often used together, to handle and manage the Asthma.

IF she is having worsening symptoms and fever... LOOK out for secondary infections. An Asthmatic... has weakened lungs. THEREFORE, they can also get Bronchitis or Pneumonia. Which a fever may signal, Pneumonia.

Yes, an Asthmatic, CAN get Bronchitis, other lung colds, and Pneumonia. Each being a separate lung illness.
So it has to be treated.

Coughs are associated with any cold and Asthma as well.
Wheezing.... is associated with Asthma. NOT colds.

You do not 'wait'... until her Asthma symptoms worsen... before giving her her Asthma meds. That is too, late.
AND you give the Asthma meds.... PER the prescription directions, per the Pediatrician.

Singulair... is for ALLERGIES. Not Asthma... it also like any other allergy med like Claritin... dries up the mucus. NOT cure the Asthma. It is NOT an Asthma, medication, but used for Asthmatics, in TANDEM with other Asthma meds. Singulair... works to reduce the Leukotrienes which are chemicals your body releases when you breathe in an allergen (such as pollen). These chemicals cause swelling in your lungs and tightening of the muscles around your airways, which can result in asthma symptoms.

KNOW the meds and what it is for. Each of them.

Asthmatics, often use things like Sinulair and Claritin or other 'allergy' meds in tandem with the Albuterol etc.
It is for specific, ailments.

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answers from Richmond on

My son is 5 and has been on pulmicort and albuterol since he was an infant. He has also been on Singulair since he was an infant too. His asthma only seems to affect him when he has a cold. We start using both at the onset of cold/cough otherwise his cough can get out of control. The albuterol helps him tremendously. We do the albuterol every 4 hrs or if the cough is slowing down then we spread that time out even longer. When he was an infant we always ended up at the doctor because we had trouble controlling his cough but now as years have past we have gotten really good and managing his asthma at the onset of a could/cough. Keep giving the Singulair no matter what because I believe you have to have it built up in your system for it to work properly. Recently, we ran out of Singulair for about a week and we noticed a difference after a few days - sniffles and he developed fluid in his ears.

I hope your daughter feels better!

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answers from Kansas City on

Yes you can still need albuteral with singulair, and pulmicort too. My 15 year old is on all 3, with flonase too!! In my opinion it is too much medicine but without it he has attacks. When I look for breating problems in him, well he can tell me too, but when he was younger, I would watch his belly. If it looks like she is breathing just like she ran a marathon, her tummy rising up and down rapidly, then she is having breathing issues. When my son gets a cough, I look for a clear runny nose. That indicates to us that he is getting asthma problems and I start doubling up on some of the meds. Also it helps if you know what her least/best numbers are on the breathing stick (can't remember the name of it). Then you can gauge by that. It took me a very long time to know when to give my son albuterol or not, before he could actually tell me that he needed it. Also, a warm shower helps with breathing problems too, the steam helps clear up the lungs for awhile, or at least makes them more comfortable for a bit.

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answers from Seattle on

I have a stethoscope, an oximeter ( ), and a peak flow meter. Ditto we also use his other tools; inspirational spirometer, expirational (the purring pickle), and vibrator (actually, a hitachi magic wand)... which also help with figuring out where his breathing is

If he's wheezing, has dropped o2 sat, retractions, a low peak flow, or any sign of cyanosis... it's puffer time. (For us, as well, if he has any "silent" areas in his lungs we use albuterol, since my son's lungs are prone to collapsing and plugging).

In my experience, it's just experience. Learning to watch for the signs. Your child learning to watch for the signs. And there are often no signs before retractions... an attack hits, it hits and you stomp on it.

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answers from Biloxi on

My son had (has) asthma. Started when he was about 1 years old and we struggled with it for years. What I learned, after practice and trial and error, was to put my ear up to his bare back and listen to him breathe. I found, that if it was asthma, and not just a "plain" cough, I could hear the difference. I had to do this a lot - until I learned to hear the difference. Because there is a difference.

Try it. Listen to her breathe at various times until you become used to the pattern and rhythm of her lung sounds. You will begin to hear the differences.

As my son got older, he was able to tell me if it was asthma or just a cough. Poor kid, I spent years asking him if he needed "to breathe" and he spent years telling me "No, Mom, I just coughed, Geesh!".

I always erred on the side of using the nebulizer when he was really young...I just didn't want to take the chance.

And yes, she will still require albuterol while on Singulair. Singulair is a preventative medicine - it is supposed to make asthma attacks less frequent and less severe when they do occur. It is not a rescue medicine. Albuterol is a rescue medicine designed to open the constricted bronchial tubes during an asthma attack. You may also want to ask her doctor about an albuterol inhaler - I always carried one when my son was younger - and he carried one through middle school - we still keep a current one in the is a quick fix when we are out and about to give him fast relief until we can get home to the nebulizer.

My son is now 15, and has been taking Singulair since he was 2 years old.

As your daughter gets older, you will learn her triggers (for my son it could have been laughing to hard and too long) and treatment and prevention becomes easier for you. She will also learn the signs and be able to tell you when she needs to "breathe".

Good Luck
God Bless

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answers from Chicago on

Albuterol is fabulous to help open the airways. My son had RSV and we had to use the nebulizer with the albuterol fluid that you put in it. Helped him tremendously and he recovered pretty quickly.

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answers from Denver on

The allergist should be able to help you answer these questions. Ask them for a website or information to read and learn about asthma. It's difficult to tell you everything in one visit - mainly because there is so much to learn.

The pulmicort is for the chronic inflammation. You might hear it called a "controller" medication. Keep on a very regular schedule with that one. Dont miss doses. Also be sure to use a "spacer" with that one because it helps to get most of the medicine into her lungs and not just in her mouth. I got a dry cough with Pulmicort - her cough could be from a cold or a side effect from the meds. Be sure to rinse her mouth (not drink) after using her meds.

The albuterol is a "rescue" medication and is used when there is a bronchospasm and you hear the wheezing or she starts coughing uncontrollably - what it feels like is breathing through a straw. Not every cough is an asthma cough. The problem with albuterol is that is promotes your body to produce adrenaline to open up your lungs like you would need for a "fight or flight" response. Your heart races and you feel shaky all over - it could lead to a crabby kid if administered every day and difficulties especially before bedtime. Food for thought.

You should also ask your allergist for a peak flow meter. It's basically a tube that you blow into and a pressure gage moves to show how much air is going through the tube. you test when your daughter is well and that is her "green zone" 20% below that is her yellow zone and red zone is where you need to seek immediate medical attention.

A peak flow reading will let you know if her cough is from breathing issues or a sore throat, etc.

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answers from Cleveland on

I would definitely recommend having her see a pediatric pulminologist - my son's asthma symptoms started when he was 3, and we have the daily meds (flovent), as well as the rescue (albuterol). His asthma is almost always cold-induced, but the way i decide if he needs the albuterol is if he has a persistent cough (more than once every 5 min or less), he needs to get on the nebulizer and have his albuterol. His pulminologist has an action plan for him, which has a green, yellow and red zone: green zone - no cough, no wheezing, no issues during exercise - here we just give the maintenance meds (flovent); yellow zone - cough OR wheeze OR chest tightness (we use a "brick" analogy with Jon, which has worked since he was 3, where we ask him how heavy the brick is on his chest - 1 is no brick, 10 is the worse brick he has ever had) OR waking at night due to asthma OR can do some, but not all activities - here is where we give him an albuterol breathing treatment (every 4 hours); red zone - he has been in the yellow zone for 24 hours and symptoms are worse OR frequent severe cough OR worse wheezing OR very short of breath OR cannot do usual activities OR rapid/fast breathing OR albuterol is not helping - here is where we start him on an oral steroid the doctor has us keep at home AND we call the pulminologist so they can stay in the loop as to what is going on - if the steroid does not help, the ER is the next step.

Jon was hospitalized twice when he was 3 for pneumonia, which was caused by his asthma, and since we have had him on his maintenance meds, we have completely avoided any hospitalizations - he does go on the oral steroids 2-3 times a year generally, but that has been getting better as he has gotten older. The best thing we ever did was take him to see the pulminologist, and the albuterol is absolutely a huge help when he does have a cough, because it allows his airways to open up and it prevents the symptoms from getting worse.

good luck! :)

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I would see about changing her to Zophenex. It has less side effects to the little kids, it usually doesn't give them the shakes at all. It is very expensive so if the Albuterol works and the side effects are not bothersome then you may not want to bother.

The med in the vials is mixed with sterile water which causes direct sterile moisture to go in the lungs...thereby helping any congestion to be looser and easier to get up. So if she is congested at all the nebulizer is a good option. If you can hear her wheezing but not having a cough then the med in the vial will open those airways.

You can buy just the sterile water from any pharmacist. I have bought them at Walmart, they don't carry it anymore now though. I have bought them at regular pharmacy's too. Just ask for the sterile water vials. They are only sterile water and NOT by prescription. They come in a white box and the vials are pink plastic.

Sometimes the pharmacist will be confused by the term "sterile" but they mix with lots of meds and are over the counter. If she is just congested then the moisture might do the same job as the albuterol vials without all the medication.

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