Asthma and Dairy

Updated on September 30, 2010
C.R. asks from Santa Clarita, CA
32 answers

I recently found out that my 13 month old has asthma. My pediatrician gave me albuterol (steriod) and pulmicort for daily breating treatments (every 3 hours). I'm having a hard time dealing with the fact that they want me to drug my son several times a day. He's 13 months!!! Really??!! So after speaking with a few mothers and doing some research, I've decided to cut dairy from his diet, which may be the cause of him developing asthma. I've been giving him an organic rice drink and I've cut out cow's milk and cheese. It's only been a couple of days, but I'm hoping that it will help his coughing and wheezing. Has anyone gone through this with their child? I don't want to harm my son, but I feel like doctor's are so quick to force medication to solve illnesses. Help. Am I doing the right thing??

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So What Happened?

I wanted to thank all of you wonderful mother's for your imput and suggestions and for not judging me and my way of thinking. I'm just became very concerned after meeting with the ped. I'm not sure if she's completely accurate since she didn't run any tests or anything. All she did was check him with a stethascope (sp?) and that's how she came to that conclusion. That strikes me as odd. She's not even my regular ped. She was just the dr who was available when I took him in for a last minute appt. I'm going to be getting a second opinion from my ped and look into an Eastern Medicine doctor. Please now that I have not stopped the medication and wasn't planning to until I have some tests ran on my sweet baby boy. I had asthma for a few years but was lucky enough to grow out of it. I will keep you posted on what I find out. Thank you again so much. :)

C.

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C.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.!
My Children do not have asthma, but I have heard many stories of moms who have simply removed the toxins from their homes and started using healthier and safer cleaning and laundry products. If it would help, I would be more than happy to get you in touch with moms that have been able to end the inhalers and doctors visits! you can contact me at [email protected]____.com
Best! C.

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N.F.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi C.,

I just wanted to let you know that sometimes wheat can cause an asmatic reaction. My grandfather was allergic to wheat and it caused his asthma. If the cutting out the dairy doesn't help, try cutting out wheat/wheat products. Good Luck!

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S.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

I would cut out all gluten and dairy and add some cod liver oil (Carlsons liquid, a little added to juice). Also, stop vaccinating him if you have done so up to this point. There is a great book by a Dr. Kenneth Bock called something like "Healing the 4 A's- asthma, autism, ADHD and allergies". It is a great book that deals with asthma and not having to put them on drugs for life. Also, accupuncturists say to always wear long sleeves to keep the lungs healthy. Sounds far fetched I know, but it really works! Good luck. I would opt out of meds too if I were you, other than just the occasional inhaler.

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B.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C., I see that you got lots of support, but I wanted to add my 2 cents. I feel that my son received his brain injury leading to his diagnosis of Autism from Asthma medications he was given at 2 years old. So you are right to be cautious. I wanted to let you know that as a result, I had to learn (without a Dr.'s help) to treat his asthma without drugs, and we did so very successfully. Your local Health Food store clerks (Ours was Sprouts, near World Market on the outskirts of the Temecula Promenade Mall) is now your new best friend. The homeopathic and herbal remedies work much better than steroids, and they don't have to be given continuously, as "Asthma contoller" medications are. The herbal and homeopathic remedies are given episodically, whenever you see the slightest sniffle coming on, BEFORE a full blown asthma attack. Look and see if the info is still there when you click on my name, I just told all this to another Mom recently. Oh, that may have been a private email. Anyway, the basic remedy is 1. Increase vitamin C. The child can take 100mg. of Vit. C per month of age per day, divided into 3 doses. So, 13 mo.= 1,300mg. or approx. 450 mg. three times a day until no longer sick. 2. Use homeopathis (quick disolving tablets) Hepar Sulph. Ask the Health Food store clerk of the dosage (bring the baby, or weight info.)3. K'hella Turmeric (a liquid herbal extract) to replace an inhaler and open up passages. The dosage is in drops. 4. Steam, from bath or hot vaporizer.5.If still congested after the above, you can put a few drops of Hyssop (essential oil) into the medicine cup of the vaporizor, or even in the bath. So that it is inhaled in the steam. It worked so well for my son, he hasn't had an asthma attack in 7 or 8 years (he is 17 now). Still struggling with the Autism, though! He is doing well, but it's a hard row to hoe, and I would hope to spare young mothers from what we went through.
B.

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L.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

C.,
I didn't read all the responses, but I had a DR. who believed if you ate by your blood type you would not have so many illnesses, including asthma. Soon after, I found a book that backed his findings...it's titled, "Eat right for your type". Hope this helps and good luck.
L.

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J.B.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi C. - I have 2 boys, now 5 and a 1/2 and 8, that both have asthma. My first got RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) at 4 weeks old. He was put on albuterol treatments every 4 hours through a nebulizer. At about 15 months he was hospitalized for 3 days and put on chromolyn (inhaled steroid). I, like you, was very against steroids because they had really messed up my husbands health. But that was many years ago and the drugs are MUCH better now. The inhaled (key word here) steroids only deal with the lungs. They don't affect the rest of the body. The only one that is a bit scary and has some gnarly side affects is prednisolone (for kids) or prednisone (for adults). Once chromolyn stopped working he was put on pulmicort(inhaled steroid through the neb). That worked for a long time. Albuterol is a bronchial dilator not a steroid and is necessary for asthmatics. It deals with the problem now. But pulmicort or any other inhaled (and that is the key word here) steroid helps prevent the asthma from getting to the scary stage. It is necessary for serious asthmatics as well. If your 13 month old is ever prescribed the other steroid (prednisolone) it couldn't be helped... Asthma isn't something that you mess with. It helps reduce inflammation in the lungs almost immediately. Both of my boys are still on an inhaled steroid (flovent) daily as well as albuterol as needed. The amazing thing, is that as long as they are on the inhaled steroid, they have VERY RARELY had to use anything else, but we have prednisolone in our medicine cabinet just in case. I have heard that dairy could possibly be linked to exacerbating asthma, but both my boys eat it and are fine. We've been to many specialists about asthma and allergies and the course you are one is exactly what we experienced and our kids are healthy, happy and active. Please feel free to contact me if you have other questions... [email protected]____.com.

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J.N.

answers from San Diego on

Don't stop using the meds! However, the body is a resilient thing, so if while using the meds you start introducing a different diet, way of life, homeopathy by a TRAINED and CERTIFIED Homeopathic healer, etc., then MAYBE you can start weaning the child off the drugs.

You're right that maybe docs are quick to force meds, but if that's the case, then get an appointment with another doctor while starting the current course of treatment. Why risk your child having a serious asthma attack and dying, or suffering brain damage from lack of oxygen to the brain???

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F.L.

answers from Reno on

My daughter was diagnosed with asthma at 9 months old. She would cough and wheeze and have a severe rattling in her chest. I also have asthma as does my younger brother. It is important that you use the medicine that your doctor has recommended Asthma kills and it kills fast! I have rushed my brother to the hospital several times when I thought he would die before I got him there. The medicine opens the lungs (albuterol) and the pulmicort pushes the medications into the airways and allows your child to breathe. Asthma does not go away. My daughter is 4 and still has regular breathing treatments. She is also allergic to milk and drinks rice milk. However, if you want to help your child breathe, you have to use the medication. I can't emphasize enough, that this is not like a cold or allergies and will not go away on it's own. You are helping your child breathe, not drugging him. Do research on webmd or look up the America Asthma Association. This is a life and death issue. I've been there and still live in that world. I also carry an inhaler and use the breathing machine as needed and am 45 years old. Good luck.

Fawn

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J.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

my daughter has had asthma since 10 months (she was diagnosed after having a 2 month cold). she takes the same medications as your son. now let me get this right your son takes pulmicort 3 times a day??? pulmicort is a prevenative to suppress the symptoms and albuterol would be his fast acting. what dose is your sons pulmicort? my daughter takes pumlicort 0.25 durring the summer then for the rest of the year she has to take 0.50 because her asthma kicks up those months. pulmicort will take about a week before you see an improvement. the only time i have given my daughter more then one dose of pulmicort was when she was sick and all i had was the 0.25 and i needed the 0.50. now with the albuterol when she coughs a lot or seems to be comming down with a cold i have to start her on 4 breathing treatments a day on top of the pulmicort once a day. my daughters dr is a pediatric specialist through loma linda university medical center (thats the best childrens hospital in the inland empire) so i take her advice very seriously. if you think his asthma is allergy related have him allergy tested and request that its done by blood. i wouldnt stop his medication. asthma can be deadly. i know a little boy who was 8 that died from an asthma attack. please dont let people tell you that you can cure asthma you cant its a respritory disease. just because your son becomes symptom free that doesnt mean hes asthma free. i agree with S H. also as a mother to a 2 year old little girl whos asthmatic i know how it feels to have to give medication for what seems like everytime you turn around but i would never consider stopping her medication because i think its too much. i dont see how dairy can cause asthma (i mean really they are also trying to say that eating peanut products while preg. can cause asthma). its a hereditary thing and children who have a parent with asthma are 3 times more likely to develope it then a child who doesnt have a parent with it. i hope this is helpfull to you.

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L.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

more:
2 of our children, one with severe symptoms, became COMPLETELY WELL, never needing any more drugs after we replaced the old ductwork in the house. we were going to have it cleaned, but they were old enough we just replaced them. It was our Christmas $ and more, worth every single penny!!! Now for us it was a no brainer because we had just recently moved...and the kids were a little older, but it's worth your consideration to at least have them cleaned.
Hoping for the best!
L.

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S.I.

answers from San Diego on

Hi C.,

Get your baby to a well-trained homeopath. In the Bay area, I could heartily recommend Karen Allen, CCH. You can google her on the Web. I know her personally and know she has great success.

Best,
S.

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T.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Christi,
My heart goes out to you. I remember the first few months after my little boy was diagnosed with asthma (which later became quite serious, so we relocated our family to a better area of the country for him). It was so hard to know how best to care for him.
I believe your diet changes are a great start, but wonder if your ped. ran tests to see what your little guy's asthma is triggered by. That was so helpful for us, because I was trying so hard to do "everything," when we found out that his biggest trigger was cold air. It was so helpful to be told it wasn't dust mites, etc.
Another piece of the care that has made a real difference (there are 3 of us in the home with asthma), is a change we recently made. A few months ago, a friend told me about an online store that makes only safe consumables for the home. I was at a point where anything but more med's sounded better, so I chose to switch stores so I could protect my kids from an environment in the home that was only exacerbating (sp?) the asthma and allergies.
The difference has been incredible. We only use med's once in a while when the kids get a cold or something. This is quite amazing, as my son was formerly on 11 different med's to try to control living day to day with asthma.
Anyway, I'm sorry this is so long, but I heard the sorrow in your writing, and couldn't imagine not sharing how we have found much relief.
Please feel free to email me at [email protected]____.com if there are any questions you just want to talk through. You're not alone... there are so many struggling with these issues, and most of us want to help as much as possible.
God bless,
T. in CA

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J.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Is it really asthma or is it allergies, sometimes they look alike. Dust can be a factor, does he have stuffed animals in his room? If so, they carry dust which is a great thing kids are allergic to. Milk and eggs also........Good luck.

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M.H.

answers from Honolulu on

I suggest taking your son to see a licensed naturopathic physician. go to www.naturopathic.org to find one in your area.

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D.M.

answers from Detroit on

I would really like to know how your baby boy is doing at this time?

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V.V.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hey C.,
I would continue with the meds., and possibly get a second opinion. I would also however take her to Dr. Karaba in the East West Medical Center in Fullerton to have testing done for allergies. He is an amazing Dr. and I'm sure you would have success with him. Good luck to you all,
V.

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S.H.

answers from Honolulu on

I have asthma, since a child. I am now in my 40's. I still have it. I eat very cleanly and healthy. I still have it.
My parents kept my room as clean as a protective bubble... I still have it.

EVERY person is different and different in what reacts/triggers their asthma.

MEANWHILE, know that asthma is dangerous. You can die from it. It is not just a willy-nilly coughing problem. And the degree/severity to which a person has asthma, varies.

Know this, when your son is having an asthma attack or bout of it... you MUST give him his albuterol and Pulmicort. Or, you are neglecting his safety and health. A person can SUDDENLY suffocate from asthma... and die. My Doctor, has had a couple patients whereby an asthma attack came on so suddenly that help did not come fast enough, and they basically asphyxiated.

Now, imagine, that you cannot breathe and each breath is a BIG struggle, and each labored breath is like squeezing a tennis ball because your lungs do NOT expand fully to suck in enough air, and that it stresses your heart because each breath taxes your energy and system so much, that even walking 5 feet in the house can put you out of breath completely and you have to sit down, that even running can make you pass out, that when there is decreased oxygen in your system it also means decreased oxygen in your bloodstream, that each cough is a struggle and it means that coughing is triggered because it helps you take a breath...
Imagine, putting your face, face down in a pillow, and THEN try to take a FULL breath. Can you do it? What does it feel like? THAT is what asthma can feel like, when having an episode.

So, yes, research what triggers your child's asthma. I did that too. BUT do not do it at the expense of omitting his prescribed medications. That is doing him no favor... just making it harder on him and his body. Talk with your Doctor about it... in TANDEM with keeping up with his medication schedule. You may have a hard time with wanting to give him medication...but for your son, it is a "life-saver." Literally. Your Doctor is not "forcing" medication on him... it is therapeutic. And probably, he will only need to take it when his asthma acting up. Later.

My Mom, used to think that my asthma was just coughing too. Until she came down with a BAD episode of Bronchitis with which she had Asthma symptoms & almost ended up in the hospital. ONLY THEN, did she realize what "I" went through during an asthmatic episode. NOW she sympathizes with me.

For me, dairy is fine. It does NOT affect my asthma.
What affects ME, are the sulphites in dried fruit and wine, and cured meats.

Another thing is, if you do not give your son his medication, when he needs it... you must realize that in the long term... it can permanently cause lung damage or lessen the lung health of his body. Thus, these asthma medications are for a purpose.

Sorry to sound so emphatic or direct. But, I am an asthma sufferer as well... and so I just am directly affected by it as well.

Take care, but always get the guidance of your Pediatrician and gain knowledge about it. Or your son will get worse.
Some people can only go about it nutritionally/food wise... but others, depending on the severity of it, HAS TO take medication. So, analyze it in light of your son's health.

AND you might want to get an Asthma Specialist for his condition, instead of just a Pediatrician, to monitor your son. That is what I do.

All the best,
Susan

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A.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

C.,
I would definitely ask for an allergy test-with a blood draw. You might also want to consult with a Dr. who studies both Western and Eastern Medicine. Asthma is quite serious but you should be concerned with the medications as well. Another thing to consider is holding off on any other vaccines until you can get his asthma under control. They can exacerbate the problem. I am looking in to going to Dr. Thomas Lin in Irvine. His number is ###-###-####-he studied Western Medicine but also works with Eastern Medicine. If Irvine isn't close to you maybe he could recommend a Dr. that is. Good luck and let us know what happens.

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C.T.

answers from San Diego on

Hi!

As a mom myself, I think you're doing the right thing. Our society does tend to over medicate and we can sometimes get better results other places. Have you heard of a company called Shaklee? They're the #1 natural nutrition company in the U.S. and have been in business for over 50yrs. The rise in asthma in children is astronomical and Shaklee has been studying this for some time. They have a natural, non-toxic cleaning line that is super effective and great for our health. We don't tend to think that our cleaners affect our breathing, but you'd be amazed. The also carry a really great air purifier and vitamins/supplements that are like no other. I wouldn't trust my family's health to any other company. I can get you info on any of the products or the company itself. Just let me know. Hope this helps.

You can also register to win $200 of free products at www.freegreenproducts.info.

C.
###-###-####
[email protected]____.com

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M.C.

answers from Honolulu on

You are doing the right thing. Do some additional research to determine if there is anything else you should cut out of his diet. Keep a food diary and record his symptoms every day. This will help you to isolate other foods that may be causing him discomfort. Do you have a pet? Carpets? Mold? Get it checked out. I was AMAZED at how much disgusting stuff hides in carpets after I got laminate floors throughout my home. Now I can see all of the stuff that accumulates on a daily basis instead of hiding in the carpet. Get aggressive on this detective project and figure out the triggers and get rid of them. You can't protect him from the world, but you can make your home a healthy place to live.

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P.S.

answers from Las Vegas on

I have asthma I developed it as an adult. Asthma is not caused by food allergies.But some of the dairy may be aggervating the asthma. Because it makes the mucus thicken up. The cheese shouldn't bother. Try giving him skim milk it may not cause the mucus, coughing or wheezing like whole milk. I also find that real cold drinks can start me to coughing & wheezing. If the dr. say he needs medicine then I would give it to him. But I would also look into what is in his room buy an air purifer & a good 1 with a couple of filters.Also pillows & etc. Research asthma. My allergies & some times a smell such as perfume will set me off. It's no fun when you are wheezing it's like having weight on your chest so you can only get part of the air you need,& it can be very crary. don't use steriods if you can advoid it.

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C.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

I do not have kids w/ asthma. So, my advice may be lame. What about seeing an allergist? I know people die from asthma attacks. Is it safe to just stop the medicine? I have no idea. But, I'd get a medical opinion about something life threatening.

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K.Y.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C. -

My son is now 8 and we went through the same thing when he was a baby. A little background for you - his father and half sister are asthmatics, my son is asian, hawaiian and hispanic. When my son was about 6 months old, he would wheeze. I asked the pediatrician if he was lactose intolerant but the pediatricin insisted that it was asthma - as it apparently "ran in the family". When my son would get "sick" - the wheezing got pretty bad and like you, we were given albuterol - which he was supposed to take 3 or 4 times a day. After seeing how dependent his sister had become on the steroid, I really didn't want that for my son. We met with a homeopathic dr and he recommended pulling the dairy and he gave us something we had to grind and get him to eat (I think it was called astragulus). My son HATED the supplement. It wasn't easy to get him to eat it, but we stuck with it. I can tell you know and for many years now - my son is not wheezing and there are no signs of asthma. I've also recommended pulling dairy to a number of friends and it has lessoned their issues. One of the things the dr told me which made sense was that as a culture (asian, hawaiian and mexican) - dairy was not part of our diet. I'm not sure of your sons racial makeup, but if dairy was not a part of your cultures diet....I thought that was interesting. Long story short - pulling the dairy did work for us. I agree with you, western dr's are very quick to prescribe medicines. They make $ if we're ill. Eastern / homeopathic medicines are preventative. We saw Dr. Sadanaga in Burbank. He was great! Good luck!

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J.F.

answers from Las Vegas on

Dear C.,

My son, who is now four, has a very similar history as your child. My son was started on pulmacort and albuteral around 11 months. He also takes singulair at night. We continue with these medications as prescribed by his allergist. As the other mothers have mentioned here, asthma is serious, but it can be controlled by proper medication and medical monitoring.

The connection between allergies and asthma is well-documented in the medical literature. I suspected my son had a dairy allergy (due to family history and signs I was noticing), and he was tested at 15 months with the result that he was, indeed, allergic to dairy. We started him on Rice Milk, which he continues to drink today, although he
has since outgrown the dairy allergy (he just prefers the rice milk). He still has other food allergies that we monitor closely.

Once we discovered what his allergies were and eliminated them from his diet, it made a big difference.

I share your concern about giving your little one these medications, but it is necessary when it is something like asthma.

Keep up with the research and locate excellent resources. One such resource is the Allergy and Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics at www.aanma.org. Founded in 1985, it is a non-profit educational and advocacy group that provides useful advice and summarizes the current research and literature in the area of allergies and ashtma. It is tremendously helpful.

Good luck to you and your little one!

J.

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S.F.

answers from Boston on

Hi C.,
I recently did a search about asthma for a friend whose daughter has been diagnosed with it at about the same age. What I recall- several studies suggest more fruits and vegetables in the diet- especially apples (an apple a day...?!). I commend you for trying to deal with this without medicating your baby right away.
S.

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A.S.

answers from San Francisco on

Hi C.,
You are absolutely doing the right thing. Don't drug up your baby. I have a 7 yr. old boy who had his 1st asthmatic systems when he was 4. He had a virus that affected his breathing severely. I have to take him to emergency in the middle of the night because his oxygen level dropped drastically. I have since then been battling with his Doctors whom insist that he needs albuterol, otherwise he will be hospitalized. I have always been against drugs and western medicine. Finally recently, I put my foot down and said no more! I took my son to an Acupuncturist. The Dr. said right away to remove all dairy from the diet. After just a couple weeks my son's coughing and wheezing ceased. Unfortunately I am in a custody situation and even though I explained to my son's dad the ramifications of dairy and he is still giving him dairy. He just came back the other day from a visit and again was coughing, wheezing and gagging on flem. My son's dad insists that he needs the calcium. There are many different sources of calcium but anyway that's my battle. My point is that dairy should be removed, causes more harm than good and natural medicine is the only way to go. My son became much worse from the albuterol. I hope this helps you. Good luck with your baby.

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C.,
I actually don't have kids yet, just got married, but I've been doing some research on toxins in houshold cleaners that cause asthma in children. I'm sure you'll find the following interesting:

"In 1998, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that asthma increased 75% from 1980-1994 and in 2007, the EPA reported that an average of one out of every 13 school-age children suffers from asthma.* In fact, “asthma has become the most common serious disease of childhood, and there are at least several well-designed epidemiologic studies that have documented a strong link between use of domestic and industrial cleaning products and risk of asthma,” says Dr. John Spengler, Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation, Department of Environmental Health at Harvard University. "When reviewing the rapid increases of asthma rates in America, it is critical to recognize the link between pollution and human health, including chemical and biological pollutants in indoor environments.”

"Moms already know household cleaners can be hazardous if swallowed or spilled directly on your skin, but most don't make the connection that when these products are used as directed on floors, sinks and tubs, their families are exposed 24 hours a day." - Jane Houlihan, VP for Research at Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C.

There are safe, powerful and smart alternatives. The best I have found on the market are from Shaklee.

Hope this was helpful!
~S.

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R.M.

answers from San Diego on

Hi C.,

You are doing the right thing. My husband and I fight over medicating our children because I truly do not believe in doing it. I went the route of finding the culprit and eliminating it first before giving medication. Both my older kids were diagnosed with reactive airway which I was told by md is a percursor to asthma if not treated. Well, both were not medicated and both are just fine. I eliminated the harsh cleaning chemicals from our home and monitor their diet for possible allergic reaction. You could also try holistic treatment or natural herbs. Follow your instincts. I wish you success in whatever treatment regiment you follow.

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E.N.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi C., it sounds like you're on the right track trying to get rid of your son's asthma the natural way; organic products and prevention. I have a 9 month old son and am a L&D nurse and I was recently educated about toxins in our homes from cleaners, bath and body stuff, and foods that trigger asthma. One of my friends who had to be on nebulizers everyday converted her home to organic products for the same price (or less!) than buying at places like Whole Foods. You can go to my website www.themomteam.com/enickerson and click "Get Info Now"!

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K.W.

answers from Honolulu on

I have asthma and cutting out the dairy has helped me tremendously. The dairy causes alot of mucous on my chest and making it very difficult to breath.

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K.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Be careful to jump to conclusions about why your son may have asthma. Ask the doctor the cause of it .... not all asthma is allergy or exercise induced. I have had asthma since birth - my tubes were just too small - medication was all that helped and allowed me to have a normal childhood. Before you get upset about the medication, find out the cause and then address the situation. Sometimes medication is best, especially if it allows your son to grow up playing sports and being active.

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J.M.

answers from Las Vegas on

While I understand your concern for your baby's health, please understand that your child already has asthma. Cutting dairy out now will not reverse it.
Having grown up with asthma, I have to tell you that it is a very scary thing to listen to for a Mom and a very horrible thing to live with as a child. ANYTHING that will relax the windpipe, cut down the swelling and help remove the phlem is a releif.
Please do not allow your child to suffer needlessly when the Dr. gave you some tools to help. Not all medications work for all people (babies) so keeping a diary of foods, laundry detergents, body soaps, animal contact, weather, local pollin counts etc. as well as his response to the medications will help you and your pediatrician find what works best for your child.

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