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The ABC's of asthma

Monday, May 23, 2011 Leave a Comment

A few weeks ago, my 5 year old spent two days in Children's Hospital being treated for an apparent asthma attack. I went home with a nebulizer machine, a rescue inhaler, and a liquid steroid, and a red folder with detailed instructions how to use them all.

I thought I had it under control, until he got another fever, and another cough. I flipped through the papers, gave him the inhaler - twice, went into a slight panic as I watched his little belly work hard to pump air in, and called the pediatrician at 4:45 pm. From their parking lot.

We ended up back in the ER for a few hours. I had a lot of tools at my disposal, but I didn't use them correctly.

"It's OK, you did the right thing," the nice ER doc assured me. "You'll learn the signs, and learn how to manage them better before it turns into a full blown attack."

That's when it hit me: this is something that is not going away. This is a condition my boy, our family, I will have to learn to live with.

As I talked to other moms at the park, I realized a lot of other families deal with this. A lot. Like, three out of four houses on my block have had similar experiences. A lot of his friends have inhalers at home, just in case. At least four of my mom friends see the same asthma/allergy specialist and rave about him. My friend from high school has twin boys and has to wake them to do neb treatments every time they get a cold. This is a part of daily life for so many moms!

Then I recall a scene in the movie "Hop," where the Easter Bunny has to take a puff off of his inhaler. Asthma has obviously become so widespread, we're seeing it in kid's movies. But why the big increase?

Here's some statistics from Boulder mom Robyn O'Brien, author of "The Unhealthy Truth" and founder of Allergy Kids, a foundation committed to restore the health of our children and the integrity of our food supply.

Since the introduction of [new]chemicals and additives into our food supply twenty years ago, there has been a dramatic increase in the rates of allergies, asthma, autism and ADHD:

  • 400% increase in allergies,
  • 300% increase in asthma,
  • 400% increase in ADHD
  • and an increase of between 1,500 and 6,000% in the number of children with autism-spectrum disorders.

With odds like that, we were bound to get something. What do you make of these statistics-- and the allegation that our food supply might be to blame?