My Son Was Recently Diagnosed with Asthma

Updated on March 23, 2012
T.C. asks from New Haven, CT
16 answers

Hello mamas! So last week my 3 yr old son was in the ER because he was having trouble breathing. It started with a mild cold and quickly progressed to rapid breathing. Went to the doctors and they gave him a nebulizer treatment, but it wasn't working fast enough. Because they were closing, we had to go the hospital for observation and more treatment. 5 hours later, 2 full nebulizer treatments, a dose of oral steroids and chest X-rays later, we left. Although it never got so bad that he couldn't breath, it was still scary seeing how quickly it went from almost nothing and progressed to such a level, and also scary how all that medicine took so long to work. This episode was followed by a long week of round the clock inhaler, plus a course of oral steroid (Prednazone) and almost having to take him back the ER a few times because he was STILL not breathing normally for four days. Luckily he got better and he's fine now.

The background on this real quick is that there have been two other times, both last fall, where an upper respiratory bug lead to mild asthma-like symptoms. It all started with Kroup. The doc had us use the inhaler with Albuterol both times. Oddly, 6 weeks ago when he had pneumonia, he didn't have asthma. There is a good chance that he will outgrow this. The reason for my post is that his doctor prescribed him Flovent daily. It's a steroid that will act as a preventative measure. I was wondering if any of you have had to give your children Flovent long-term? Did you see any side effects, short or long term? I want to do what is best for him, but I also hate the idea of giving him steroids everyday. Thanks!

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?

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful and informative responses. I really appreciate it. Having all your perspectives has been very helpful.

Featured Answers



answers from Dallas on

I didn't read the other answers but my 12 year old uses Flovent 2x a day. It has made a world of difference in his asthma. Yes - Flovent is a steroid but it doesn't cause the issues that oral steroids do. It goes directly to their lungs and works there. The oral steroids goes through their systems until it works on their lungs. It's just a lot easier on the body and works where you need it to. I haven't noticed any side effects at all with this.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Try no dairy or gluten and chiropractic care for 3-6 months and see if there's a difference. I've seen it work or at least reduce the need for meds.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Honolulu on

I have had Asthma since childhood.

- it is not a one sized shoe fits all.... per treatment or triggers.
Each person is different.
- You CAN have a cold or even Pneumonia, ALL at the same time. I have had these things all at the same time, along with my asthma.
- Asthma, weakens the lungs.
Being your son had been sick, his lungs are weaker, thusly. AND it takes TIME for it to heal. Longer than the normal person. Know that.

-Croup, is a "constriction" of the upper airways, wind pipe etc. Asthma is a constriction or inflammation of the bronchial airways.
Corticosteroids...are used to REDUCE the inflammation/constriction of the airways. THUS, it opens up the airways. This is important, because otherwise the person cannot breathe. Hence, is it for their life, that these medications are given.

- there are emergency acting or maintenance inhalers.
there are many types of inhalers. For different purposes.

Asthma, means basically, that the person cannot breathe. HENCE, that means, that there is not enough "oxygen" getting into the lungs/bloodstream etc. Hence, this can be dangerous.
That is why, Asthma can be very serious.
My Doctor used to tell me, that you cannot predict... an Asthma attack, and there are people who have died from it. They did not have, their medications with them, nor took it as they should have.

When one cannot breathe due to asthma, it is like suffocating.
There were times, even walking a few feet in my house... would leave me WINDED and out of breathe and wheezing and very very, strained. Like suffocating.

Rapid shallow breathing is one sign.
Asthma attacks... can come on very very quickly. Know that. Or it can arise due to everyday chronic levels of laborious breathing etc. when it has not been taken care of.

Get referred to a Pulmonologist.

It can take time... to heal from an episode.
Know that.
AND, keep your son away from a person who is sick, if you can. Since, "colds" can make it worse. And when one gets a cold, the Asthma will often be, flaring up too.
AND get the Flu Shot. This is imperative for anyone, with Asthma.

Again, each person, will have different triggers and have different degrees of severity. AND the level of severity, can also vary daily, per person.

Inhalers, are either corticosteroids, or not. Many different kinds.
BUT... you NEED to, maintain his medications. Because, not doing so will, as Marda below said, lead to more lung damage.

Get to know, intimately, about Asthma and PER your son's condition.
He is too young, to tell you, when it may be starting to flare up. THUS you need to observe him and know... when it may be getting worse.

As a child, my parents, had air filters/purifiers in our home. And no carpet in my room. To help keep the air cleaner.

I personally do not have to take corticosteroid based inhalers everyday.
But have had that, at times when it was more severe and in an attack stage... along with the Predinisone and nebulizer etc.

Lung capacity... can quickly diminish... in a person with asthma. If it is flaring up. That is when... SHALLOW rapid breathing... becomes apparent. THAT MEANS, that lung capacity, is nil or lessening. Hence a person, CANNOT take in deep breaths. Nor even breathe. Or the fingernails or lips, may start to turn blue. The blue coloring means... that oxygen levels in the body and bloodstream... are not adequate or are being depleted. If that happens, a person can die. It means, the body and organs and lungs and heart, are not getting enough oxygen to function.
Know... those signs as WELL.

With Asthma... do not think, you can just use so called natural remedies. You NEED to use, medication. As directed by the Doctor.
Asthma, can be a life threatening thing.
During an attack, you NEED fast acting medicine. Medicine.

Some people have acute Asthma. Some people may have it milder.

Once I was sick. Had a cold. Sure, my Asthma flared up. I THOUGHT... it was fine. I was taking my meds. And I know my body well. But one day.... I felt so constricted and my breathing got so shallow (just like your son), and I went to the Hospital myself. I was immediately put on a Nebulizer and Prednisone as well. JUST like your son had happened. My lung capacity, (my Doctor showed me with her hands), was about 3 inches. Meaning.... I could NOT take in deep normal breaths, I could only breathe in very shallow and that was straining at the same time.

WHEN an Asthma attack is on, or when the condition has gotten bad... even if a person does take emergency meds... it takes TIME for it to work and it will not work IMMEDIATELY, because, the level of acuteness... was already so bad.
That is why, per your son, the Meds did NOT work, fast enough. It was working.... but, given your son's state and condition, the meds could not immediately work.
Nothing is wrong with the Medicine... it works. BUT, your son's condition was SO acute already by then... that even the medicine did not affect him quickly enough.
Thankfully, he was already AT the hospital, by then.

Asthma meds are "Corticosteroids." A type, of Steroid.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Been there!
My son is on a daily maintenance inhalier - Azmanex. He also has a Albuterol inhaler for when he has flare ups.

Have you spoke to an asthma and allergy specialist? Or is this all coming from your pediatrician? If you have not seen an asthma specialist yet, I highly recommend it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My granddaughter ended up in the ER several times starting when she was around 1. A cold would cause an attack. It is scary. All of what you said.

She has and is taking a steroid inhaler as a preventive measure for several years. She's now 11, growing and developing normally. No noticeable side affects.

The alternative to steroids is more asthma attacks. The lungs are damaged just a little bit more with every attack.

BTW: the pediatrician referred her to a pediatric allergist who prescribed the medications. She was diagnosed with several allergies, both food and environmental. Eliminating what could be eliminated helped. For example, she doesn't play outside much in the spring when the trees are blooming.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

hang in there! my daughter has been asthmatic since birth (diagnosed at 10 months) from having pnemonia at birth from inhaling miconium. shes 5 now. she takes pulmicort 1.0 once a day everyday. then her albuterol as needed. when she is sick i have to be very careful.
look at it this way his mungs have taken a beating from the respratory infections and pnuemonia. they are weak from this. your doing what is right for him. continue the meds until he shows no symptoms for a week then wean him off the albuterol. continue the prevenative.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

One key to his future health is to minimize the number of times he suffers from cold and flu, as well as reducing allergies. The fewer infections he gets, the less likely it is that they will morph into an asthma attack or have such an impact on his lungs. That means strengthening the immune system. I have many friends and colleagues who have done this safely (food, no drugs) with their kids and I also have gotten rid of my own allergies and chronic bronchitis. The doctors we have worked with know the value of health, not treatment after the fact, and more and more physicians are looking at the science of immunity and its relationship to the junk in our environment and in our food. If you think about the astronomical rise in asthma over the past 15 years, as well as the frightening rise in allergies (environmental, food), you'll quickly realize that something is wrong with how we are dealing with these things.

You can start to build up his body's strength and ability to resist these things, and you can ultimately do away with the medications and ER visits. It's a much happier way to live, less expensive and less worrisome. Since you say you are worried about long term use of steroids (and I absolutely agree with you), I raise this as an option for you to consider.

There are lots of treatments out there as you have seen from all the posts, but remember that they are only treating the symptoms, not the cause. Obviously, in an acute situation, you have to resort to emergency management. You've done the right thing. But it's sometimes difficult to get an accurate diagnosis in children, partly because they can't express themselves and partly because their bodies are developing and still immature.

Nothing you do from an immune system boosting nutritional program, if it's done responsibly and comprehensively, will interfere with the medications you use in the short run. Then you can let the doctors take your child off these meds because they won't be necessary. Happy to help you do this.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Reread everything SH has to say. A few times. :)

2nding (5thing, etc.) a pulmonologist and asthma specialist.

Flovent is our miracle.

My son's 9... and we spent several months in and out of Children's Hospital (longest for 5 weeks) last year. He's been on Flovent since this past summer.

Side effects? Yep. We've got some big ones.

1) Insomnia. It's 245am here, and my son finally just fell asleep. He's been exhausted since 9pm, but wired or exhausted, he can't get to sleep easily. Bedtime used to be 9pm, mostly. Now a GOOD night is 11pm-1am, and a bad one is 4am-6am.

2) Munchies. He's CONSTANTLY hungry. Before I pegged onto this side effect I went to the bathroom and when I came out the bagels were gone. He'd eaten 6 bagels in one sitting. He has no internal 'shut off' anymore in regards to being full, and he's never not hungry.

Those are the 2 big ones that have really changed the way we live. Smaller ones include yellowing teeth, puffy face, (not quite 'steroid face', but it's noticeable to those of us who are around him most, and it goes away when he gets weaned off of them, so it's not the weight gain he's had from his increased appetite).

Before Flovent, though? From Feb-June, life was pretty nightmareish. He had to use his ventolin/albuterol inhaler at LEAST every 4 hours around the clock, sometimes as often as 8 puffs every 30 minutes (that's huge, btw., typically more than 4 puffs every 4 hours is = admit to hospital), respiratory therapy (vibrator type device) every couple hours to help clear the blockages... after years of untreated respiratory issues... his cough reflex is toast, and monitoring his o2 levels at home had us in and out of the ER so often all the triage nurses just saw us, waved us back, and started chatting about life while doing his vitals. (Hey, Cheryl! How're the kids? Oh, hi Mark.) :P We just kept his hospital bag right by the door so if his meds weren't handling his attack, we just walked out and drove 6 blocks to the hospital and have that be as normal as running to the store for milk.

I remember my first "calm" week. I'm not joking here, I had so much TIME, and it was such an "easy" week. I look back at that week and just shake my head. We'd "only" been to the ER 3 times (and one was for me! Sleep deprived me, I poured acid in my eye, but that's another story), and each time had been able to go home afterward instead of being admitted.

Post Flovent?

He still uses his rescue inhaler a few times a day, but his o2 levels have only gone into the 80's a few times (that's o2 tank levels). He's back in all his sports, back in most of his classes (not the morning ones, he sleeps until 10am-noon), and has a normal life again.


Just because ours are insomnia, the food thing, etc. does NOT mean that you'll have them.

Rather ironically, he does much better (no sleep issues, food is normal, etc.) on oral prednisone, but that's so bad for your bones that it's not a long term solution.

We've tried weaning off the steroids twice. Once normally, and once a VERY slow wean. Each time it's been back to ventolin every 4 hours and his o2 levels tanking. :P So we're going to be doing this for awhile.

There are some heavier hitting steroids available that we may be switched to at some point, but we'll see. For the first 6 months we were really just hoping it was a nasty bug (pneumonia and etc. can take 6mo to fully heal, sometimes longer). But no dice.

Flovent might be sleeps enemy here in our house (I got more sleep as the mom of a newborn!)... but breathing is the first step to life. I don't care HOW many side effects we get... my son almost died too many times last year. Breathing. The first step to life.

Miracle drug.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Our daughter went through the same thing, she did out grow all of this pretty much after 5th grade.

She is about to graduate college.. No side effects.. and so far we do not see any problems from it.. She was on a rowing crew for 6 years.. And is taking it up again this semester..

Sorry all of this is so scary..

Start setting up his bedroom and or your home with less allergens..

We got rid of all carpets, all of the drapes and for her bedroom an electric air filter. We changed out the filters more often than suggested, because they filled up so quickly.. This really made a huge difference for her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My 15-year-old was diagnosed with mild asthma at age 2. S.H. has given you a lot of good advice. Get a pediatric pulmonologist ASAP. We finally started getting a handle on my son's asthma at age 4 when we were referred to the pulmonologist. He is now 15 and doing great. Just had one of his best winters ever, knock on wood. He's been on a steroid inhaler of some sort since age 4. No side effects that I know of. The albuterol inhalers and nebulizers can have a short term effect--a boost of energy and restlessnes and the prednisone used to cause some behavorial side effects when he was little. We only used the prednisone when absolutely necessary, but sometimes it was absolutely necessary. Thanks to our pulmonologist and the proper medications my son is healthy and lives a very active life, playing in sports, etc. The inhaled steroids don't get into their system in the same way the oral steroids do. Your doctor can give you more information about that. Good luck and find a good pediatric pulmonologist.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Shreveport on

Please get a second opinion...not saying your son doesn't have it need to check and double check because once he is an adult and no longer covered by your insurance he will have a hard time geting his own insurance because asthma will fall under the preexisting condition and many insurances don't want to cover asthma people. The reason I know this is because not once,not twice but three times I had a dr try to dx my youngest with asthma. It was crazy cause he didn't show signs of it. It took an ENT dr to help us and then two yr later an allergist who backs us up that my son doesn't have asthma. So besides following the advice given already get a second opinion or even a third just to be safe.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hi T.,

lots of good info here. just a quick note, have you heard of CALM (magnesium supplement). Get some for your son. give him small amounts I give it to my kids in shot glass. anyways, a lot of the asthma meds deplete the magnesium in the body, which in turn can make asthma worse. also, magnesium sulfate is what's in some of the IVs at the hospital for asthma patients. anyways, we're all low in magnesium because there isn't much in our foods. get the book: smart medicine for a healthier child. wonderful book with LOTS of helpful information (from regular med, nutritional advice and alternative meds for many conditions, including asthma)
God Bless! ~C.~.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

My brother has asthma and everytime he got a cold or infection it triggered the asthma. There is asthmatic bronchitis or bronchial asthma. One is bronchitis that has asthma as a result and one is asthma. They are basically the same but not quite. You need to keep an eye on him and when he has it again ask the doctor which it is. The asthmatic bronchitis comes on with a cold and it goes to the chest, etc. I would think he was weak in that area from the pneumonia already. If it's either one the treatment will work and is usually the same. We have children and grandchildren with asthma and the steroid treatment is not a joy but helps so you have to use it and hope they won't need it for long.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I use home remedies and keep an inhaler on hand. The inhalers go unused and expire.

My husband refuses my yukky tasting home remedies and he is sick a lot more often than I am. He usually uses my inhalers because his run out.

If I had to use preventative meds for myself, husband or daughter, I would. But we have had it under control for quite some time now.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I've been on Flovent (I was diagnosed when I was 6...34 now) for many years. It really does help.
If you can find a steroid that manages his asthma daily, there will be little to no need to use the albuterol, which is really what you want. They will only fortify his little lungs, and there really isn't a downside. I've found that when I get colds now, they SELDOM go into my chest, since the steroids keep things open and moving for me.

I've been on Advair now for almost 10 yrs, and it works well for me.

If he does have asthma, it might be a part of his life. So short of trial and error going on and off new drugs, it'll be far more comfortable for him to have his illness managed.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I can't offer an opinion on the medicine but I would definitely get a second opinion from a pulmonologist before starting a long term/daily medication - especially because he is so young. We had breathing issues similar to this with my then 2 year old and received an asthma diagnosis as well. When we went to a pulmonologist we had extensive testing for scary things like cystic fibrosis and non-scary things like allergies, we found she had ciciliary dyskinesia and needed much course of treatment and meds than our pediatrician prescribed. Luckily she did outgrow it in just over one year. At the pulmonologist office we met a large number of families whose kids where misdiagnosed with asthma and mistreated for years, so please get a second opinion and good luck. I know how scary the ER can be and I hope you never have to go back :)

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

Related Questions