Asthma > > > Hospitalization?

Updated on February 15, 2011
R.J. asks from Seattle, WA
15 answers

Anyone else end up with their kiddo in the hospital for nearly a week? (or longer/shorter?) Asthma is still a tentative diagnosis for my 8yo (for many reasons). I was just wondering if these trips hooked up to 30% oxygen and constant meds are things that will become common in our future, or if this is fairly rare.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

We're currently down to (at home) steroids in the morning + 4 puffs (albuterol) every 4 hours... ugh... just had to do 3.5 hours, which is a major decrease from 8 puffs every 2 hours + steroids every 2 hours + 21% o2 during the day and 30% O2 at night... which again is a major decrease from being on the nebulizer 24/7 + 30% O2.

We don't know triggers yet (could be anything, EVERY common asthma trigger has been in kiddo's life for the past 8 years... and we & his docs have always thought him to be robustly healthy... of course, now it's 2nd guessing everything since birth). He went from FINE to almost being in respiratory arrest in the blink of an eye last weekend (super scary)... but fortunately Children's Hosp ER got him stabilized enough to not have to do the last med available (magnesium?) which is only available in the PICU, since apparently it tends to cause kids to crash... so we've been in the Medical ward for almost a week. Finally got his o2 stats normal on room air Friday, and are home now... but he's still wheezing (was at discharge as well). Negative for pneumonia (and other bacterial & viral causes that have been tested for to date, only about 50... so there's a lot more to work our way through, plus other pulmonary issues, but the obvious ones have been crossed off the list), but there are still a lot of differentials to work our way through over the next few weeks. Hence the tentative dx of asthma. It might be something else but they're currently treating it as a major asthma attack.

I'm currently reading my brain jell-o like on basic pulmonolgy so I have a foundation of understanding when we regroup monday (please god, let it be monday and not in the hospital tonight/tomorrow) with his docs. Currently the house isn't setting him off. Allergy tests forthcoming. The ONLY new thing in his life is I bought a green floor cleaner (Bac-Out) that has been completely nixed. And I'm sealing off rooms and cleaning the beejeezus out of them). But it's a scary new thing round these parts.

Featured Answers



answers from Honolulu on

My sister is allergic to stuff like that, only it was foods. No hormones added in meats so organic only for meats, eggs and milk... actually she was allergic to milk too starting at 3, so no more anything with milk as an ingredient. Every time she would eat any of the things she was allergic to (cupcakes with no milk but not organic eggs) she would stop breathing. We just told people she was allergic to eggs and milk, and explained the meats. I hope it gets better and you don't have to visit the hospital so often.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

oh geez, this is so scary! my younger ended up in the hospital twice in one day with that. i thought he was going to die. that was a terrible, terrible day. breathing treatments, sent home with nebulizers and albuterol and a diagnosis of asthma.
that was 15 or 16 years ago. it has NEVER happened again.
may all the gods grant it's the same for you.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

So, so sorry – I can't even imagine how agonizing your week has been. I hope your son is still home as I write this. Other that what you're learning about the medical side of asthma, is there any chance that some particular emotional impact hit your son especially hard before his attack?

I've had asthma since early childhood, and a couple of events probably should have put me in the hospital, but I was 'still breathing' and my mom was very poor, so my granny nursed me through at home. For the most part, though, mine was more or less chronic, and I didn't start getting acute attacks until my teens. During those years I was required to surrender my growing need for autonomy to my extremely controlling mother, and my emotions were, out of necessity, burrowing out of sight. I eventually learned they were storing up anxiety, anger, fear and grief, and translating them into acute asthma attacks.

Don't get me wrong, I had asthma anyway, and always had enough of a wheeze that I couldn't do endurance sports (I was quite the sprinter, though). The many allergens that provoked me were almost omnipresent. But it was usually a manageable wheeze with occasional hits of albuterol-style inhalers. But those acute attacks were severe and agonizing. Our family doc basically shrugged and said "some kids are like that," and I'd probably grow out of it.

The mom of a girlfriend kindly observed that her asthma was linked to her emotions, and suggested I look at that possibility. I kinda pooh-poohed the idea at the time. These symptoms were obviously caused by cats, dust, pollen, etc. What could she be thinking?

So it went until my early 30's, when my heart and nervous system could no longer handle albuterol. That was frightening. A new doc put me on Pulimcort inhaler, which I've had great results from for 30 years. Plus a naturopath suggested the herb khella, which I use when grass is pollinating and I need extra help.

But what really turned around those severe attacks was finding out they did indeed have an emotional component. I was engaged in some deep counseling for awhile, and found that I'd suddenly be wheezing, even desperate, just before I'd have a breakthough. Just as suddenly, the wheezing would ease, as soon as I recognized some buried emotion. I'm sure this would vary somewhat depending on the person's history and personality, but in my case it was generally fear or anger that I had not been allowed by my mother to express.

Once I made that breakthrough, I started to recognize acute breathing trouble as my emotions using my body to cry for help, and I learned to go digging for the trigger feeling. I've gotten good enough at it that I can usually relieve an acute attack within a few minutes, I just need a bit of quiet so I can focus. And sometimes I have to cry, so I like to be alone.

I mention this because you have previously mentioned tensions in you home life, and that you stay married to a difficult husband because it's the only way you're sure you can protect your son. I'm not knocking that – you're the only one in a position to know. But IF there is an emotional piece to your son's asthma, tensions between him and his father could be an aggravating element. Or even a desire to protect you, if he's old enough to pick up on the conflict in your interactions. I know that's not an easy suggestion to explore. I wish it were.

I sure hope this is a one-time event for your kiddo. It's too bad there's really no way to know, but it does happen that way sometimes. Wishing you both well.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Just one more thing.
It is a good idea, to get an air purifier/filter for his room or each room of the house.
My parents got me one, when I was a child.

ALSO, when vacuuming the house... make SURE he is not in the same room. Vacuuming, REALLY kicks up the 'dust' in the room. Wait at least 1 hour, before he goes back into a room, after vacuuming. After vacuuming, the 'air quality' in the home/room, gets really full of dust/kicked up whatever in the air.

ALSO: for me, my case, anything with Sulfa or Sulfites in it, triggers my Asthma. Or alcohol. EVEN Mouth Wash... will make me wheeze....
AND also, cold weather... will make my Asthma/lungs labor.

I have had Asthma since childhood.
It is rare, at least in my living with it.. that I ended up in the hospital.

Once you get a definitive diagnosis, then that will discern things. And his treatment/meds/inhalers/maintenance for it, if he has Asthma.

Asthma is deadly.
Attacks can come on suddenly. Cannot predict it.
Each person being different and when/if an episode is triggered. And what triggers it.

For me, when sick, catching a cold, brings on my Asthma. When I was pregnant with my 2nd child, my Asthma was more prevalent.

When Asthma is in an active state, the oxygen levels do drop, and this is indicated by how much oxygen is in the bloodstream as well. Because a person cannot breathe. Airways are constricted. The lungs cannot expand to breathe. Capacity drops.

Thus the use of Prednisone etc., to reduce inflammation/constriction of the airways, right away. It is very necessary. And use of other inhalers. Of which there are many types. Inhalers are Bronchodilators.
Some work for some, not for others. So, if an inhaler does not improve symptoms/breathing, you must tell the Doc and get a prescription for another type.

As for me, there was only 1 time in my life, where I had to be hospitalized due to my Asthma. But of course, this may not or may be common.
Hard to say.

One thing though: with Asthma, you NEED to take the Meds. Don't think you can just go all natural with it. Because that is a shot in the dark and experimental. Each person is different. Meds are needed, because Asthma is deadly, and if you do not take the meds, you can just put your child in a very bad place, health wise. And Asthma attacks, happen. Acute or not.

Hope your son, recovers well.
All the best....

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

until they get her on an controller it will be common after that they will be sparatic. mine can range from 3weeks apart to 5 yrs. :) but when i get it i get it good. dont use chemicals only baking soda and vinegar to clean everything and all free and clear for laundry soap

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

R., I don't have any answers for you, but just wanted to send you some words of support... I'm thinking about you... my son has a tentative diagnosis of asthma as well, but never experienced anything like what you describe... must be terrifying... my thoughts and prayers are with you and your son for strength, courage, an explanation for his episode, and for an effective treatment plan!!!

Keep us posted.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I have a friend who has severe asthma attacks and is frequently hooked up to oxygen in the hospital for two weeks at a time.
She also gets hives from some of the medications so she is put on mega steroids. I have seen her go in at least once a year for so long I actually thought it was more the norm than not.
I really don't know what to tell you except that my friend lives a pretty healthy, normal life with three boys in every sport imagineable.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Hello R.,
Boy, can I relate to your story. My son is now almost four, but was hospitalized at one year with 'asthma', then again six months later (one night), then one year after that (two nights, three days). [I am also in the Seattle area.] They treated him at Children's with albuterol neb treatments initially, then the puffer, oral steroid and inhalant steroid (flovent).

I tend to follow more natural methods with health for my family and we see a naturopath pediatrician, who did refer us to the NW Allergy and Asthma specialists. They did an allergy test for cats/dogs/dust/dairy and he had no reaction, however; EVERY time my son had a problem it was during a respiratory virus and following intake of cow's milk, yogurt, or ice cream. Although the docs at Children's didn't see the connection, I certainly know it exists, so we limit his dairy intake and completely eliminate it during episodes of colds/coughs. The trigger for my son seems to be a respiratory virus and then dairy intake. My son takes fish oil every day (helps with inflammation) and immune support herbs as well (recommended by our naturopath).

We started seeing a homeopath in Bellevue (Children's Homeopathic Clinic) back in April and we have had four episodes of respiratory issues and my son has pulled through each time without needing the inhalers. It feels like a bit of a miracle to me. I get VERY nervous when he is sick and watch him like a hawk. I still have the meds handy and take them with me, send them to school, etc. But, I have been using 'remedy' prescribed by the homeopath first and I am now convinced that it has truly helped. It was a BIG learning curve though and we got a bit lucky by finding the right remedy pretty quick. But, I've heard lots of stories about its effectiveness for treating asthma. If you are interested, a good place to start is reading Impossible Cure by Amy Lansky, or visiting her website

Additionally, a few months ago I was talking with an osteopath, also in Bellevue (don't recall his name-it was the first one in an alphabetized list- I could find it if you want his name) and he told me a story about a little boy who ended up in a very similar situation as your acute asthma attack out of nowhere that put him in the hospital for days. He didn't respond to any of the treatments, and they sent him home. Anyway, they ended seeing the osteopath and the kid had a rib out of joint that was 'pressing' into his lungs, which was the cause of the respiratory distress. He was adjusted and was fine.

These are just some others options to consider. I am not saying to take him off the meds, because he needs them right now, but in the future if you want to explore why this happened and possibly eliminate the chance of it happening again, you sometimes have to think outside the box.

I am not sure I answered your question, but to me, a week seems a long time to recover from an asthma attack, so maybe that's not what it is. Hopefully, it was a one-time thing and it will be your last trip to Children's.

Blessings coming your way and a virtual hug. There are not many other things more scary than seeing your child unable to breathe. Good luck in your journey!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Augusta on

My son has ended up in the ER once for his asthma.
The constant meds is generally normal.
We have a nebulizer at home for him right how he gets it every 4 hrs, his is allergy induced so when ever something is in bloom that he is allergic too his asthma kicks up.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My daughter has asthma and is 12, she's been hospitalized once but only for 4 hours, so really not hospitalized. They may give her medication that should help, but if not I really don't have an answer for you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Let me tell you a little story about asthma. It can be caused by several things but I know of a person whose 4 year old son had an attack of asthma and was sent to the hospital and stayed the night and was put on meds to help him breath. The mom looked into their background (both husband and wife) and did not find any genetically disposition to asthma. No one in either one of their families had this condition. So they said if no one in our family had this it had to be environmental. So they started checking what was causing their son to be asthmatic. You know what they found was that it is the cleaning products in their house. Once they changed this products out for environmentally safe cleaners their son no longer has any asthma symptoms and is very healthy.

I know lots of adults that didn't have asthma until they started cleaning their houses (they also happen to be really clean people) and they have asthma. Suspicious????

If you check on line everything you use you will be surprised at what you find is in your cleaners and the health problems they can cause.

The family I was talking about uses Shaklee. In fact they were so pleased with the company they bought it. You might have seen them on Oprah. If you are interested in looking at what Shaklee has go to

Not only is it healthy to use it has no smells and it beats out the $1 store in most cases and compares or beats out Wal-Mart prices.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Little Rock on

Glad it's getting better!!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I had my first major asthma attack when I was about 8 year old. I was hospitalized for 4 days. It came after an overnight at a girlfriends house who had a cat. I ended up walking myself home at about 3 am (just a few houses down the street and lying on my couch. My mom had some mommy intuition and came down to check on me and rushed me to the ER. I was so far gone they had to warm my hand up with a washcloth just to get the IV in. The doctors later told her that if she had waited any longer to take me in I would have died. I am allergic to cats and it triggers my asthma. I have NEVER been to the hospital for asthma and had to stay there for days again. I have gone to the doctor and had to do a nebulizer treatment at their office and was sent home later but not sent to the ER.

The key with Asthma is control. You need to watch your child when she has flare ups and identify the triggers. Is it exercise induced? Is it from pollens and molds? Does it occur when she is around cigarette smoke or a particular pet? Just try to think about what happens before she has an attack. If you can identify it then you can do things ahead of time that prevent the attack. An inhaler steriod works great. If it's exercise then she can use a steroid inhaler 1/2 hour before sports or running etc. If it's an allergy to cats she can take some Benadryl and use the steriod before she is around the place where the cats will be as well as not touching them directly. If it is a particular season that makes her flare up then have here use a steroid in the spring. (Steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs work by reducing swelling and mucus production in the airways of a person with asthma. As a result, the airways are less sensitive and less likely to react to asthma triggers, allowing people with symptoms of asthma to have better control over their condition.) I have success with Qvar. I even use it when I feel a chest cold coming on.

The other key is to recognize symptoms early on. If your child is wheezing then she has already gotten to a full blown attack. You need to catch asthma when it is in the early onset. I feel my chest getting tight and use an inhaler LONG before the wheezing starts. Some other early symptoms for an asthma attack are light headache, coughing, chest tightness, and unexplained tiredness.

As an adult I rarely need to use an inhaler and when I have to 2-3 times in a week I pick up my steriods and use them for a week or two until the symptoms pass. I don't think doctors would advise use of steroids in that manner because they would want you to take them as prescribed to be sure your out of the woods. But I have had it so long and I listen to my body enough to know that I am having trouble without the use of any flow meters or wheezing. Since this is new for you, I would keep a log. Check your daughters peak flow before during and after potential triggers, record how she is feeling and make observations based on that.

They also have at home Nebulizer systems that you can have your daughter take a treatment on so that you can avoid trips to the ER and Dr office if her problems reoccur often.

You can manage asthma effectively to avoid more trips to the ER. You just have to be aware and she does too.

Edited To Add: IMO A week in the hospital doesn't necessarily mean he has something other than asthma. If he was dehydrated and was in the late stages of the asthma attack when it was severe it can take a week to feel better and to stabilize.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I have no experience with this except for one night when my 11 year could not breathe and we had to go to the ER for five hours, so I just wanted to let you know that I will be thinking about your son and hoping this is solved successfully. Because of that one night I know how scary this is. I can't imagine going through it longer.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I grew up with asthma, and i was, indeed, in the hospital a lot. However, you should be able to cut back on visits, and the length of that visit and need for constant oxygen are worse than most of my trips as a kid.
A visit to an asthma and allergist specialist may help you figure out how to control the asthma, instead of treat it after the fact, and that will help a lot.

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions