New to this forum but needing advice

Hi I have had asthma since I was 10 and now 24 years later I very rarely have any problems now, however my 7 year old son has just been diagnosed after a bit of pushing. I took him about a cough he had for 6 months and was told to take a couple of puffs a night with a reliever I went back last week after about 3 more months from the original appointment and is now on 2 puffs 4 times a day with a reliever and twice a day with a preventor. We are going back in 4 weeks and I have to do a peak flow diary. The medication seems a big jump to me and I have really noticed a big difference with my son with wheezing and coughing even when talking. He is very active and swims and does judo twice a week aswell as playing football every lunchtime! I'm not quite sure what to do next. If it's what I fear and it may be quite bad asthma I feel I should be doing something.

I want to buy a new mattress for him but have searched around and can't find much apart from the miracoil asthma mattress, so was wondering whether someone could tell me whether it is any good or recommend one that would be good but not too pricey. Same goes with pillows. He also sleeps with more soft toys than can actually fit in. I know I should probably move these out of his bed but he's going to hate it as he likes having them squished in there.

Should I also push for an allergy test? As it may help with knowing his triggers. Not sure what they do nowadays. I was given allergy tests but they were so basic that I had to just guess, if I ended up in hospital I knew it was a bad trigger if I didn't it was a bonus.

Any advice would be great, I know the basics as I'm an asthma sufferer myself but there are a lot of things out there now that weren't available when I could have used them.

Please help, you'd think knowing all about it I'd be a bit calmer but I seem to have gone into panic mode and am feeling quite guilty too.

Helen

7 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Searching back through the depths of my memory to when I insisted on sleeping with far too many stuffed toys crammed into my bed!

    Skin prick testing still seems to be the mainstay of allergy testing, so it might be worth asking your GP if that can be arranged. It won't tell you the exact extent of the allergy, but might give you some helpful pointers. I have allergies to house dust mite, feathers and some animal hair (these are the most common environmental allergens, I think, along with mould spores, so I'll focus on the things that I do to avoid those as much as possible).

    - Get a really good vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, especially if you have pets, and use it as often as you can bear (for me, this is about once or twice a week, max)

    - Consider replacing carpet with a hard floor surface (floorboards, laminate, vinyl, whatever), especially in your son's bedroom

    - Choose synthetic pillows (not feather - I have a memory foam pillow with an anti-allergy cover) and consider getting anti-allergy covers for pillows, mattress and duvet

    - Soft furnishings trap dust. If dust is a big trigger, think about replacing curtains with blinds, especially in the bedroom, and minimise soft fluffy things. If soft fluffy things are essential, think about putting them through the washing machine every so often, or taking them outside for a good shake.

    - Most soft toys will survive the washing machine and/or the freezer, both of which will subdue dust mites. I seem to remember having my toys on a rotation system, with some of them in my room, some in the washing machine and some in the freezer!

    I remember thinking for years that I was allergic to sofas because we had a terribly old (brown - very 70s) sofa at home that always made me sneezy and wheezy. Thinking back, it would make more sense for it to have been entirely full of dust!

    I think those are the most obvious/cost-effective changes that I've made for myself. At least, they're the only ones I can think of at the moment. I used to ride and loved to spend time at the stables (my grandparents had lots of horses and dogs) and my parents were absolutely militant about getting me out of my 'contaminated' clothing and into the shower before I could touch anything! I also had to wash my hands and face if I went near the hamsters, etc.

    Good luck, don't panic, and feel free to PM me if I can be of any further help!

    Wishes

  • Thanks that's reassuring as it sounds like I am doing most things. I always change his bed linen every week and have anti allergy protectors for the pillows. I have a dyson pet hair hoover which I use at least twice a DAY, I'm a bit of a freak about dog hair, although I love my two I can't bear the hair so downstairs gets hoovered twice a day which hopefully limits the travel of the hair upstairs. The dogs are not allowed upstairs either. We've had one of our dogs for over two years so that doesn't seem to be a trigger and we have a new puppy but Thomas' asthma was getting worse before he arrived too. Funnily enough, I'm not allergic to the dogs but am really bad with cats! However my sister who has dreadful asthma has 2 cats but is allergic to my dogs. I am of course allergic to her cats. SO it makes it hard for us to see each other.We don't have feather pillows as I can't even have them in the same room as me but think it might be time to buy new pillows and anti allergen covers. Will go for the memory foam I think as I have heard good things about the mattresses being good for asthma. Not sure if this is true. Anyone know?Like the idea of rotating the toys, he's a very sensible 7 year old and if I explain it to him that it might be making it worse then he will be fine. It is about that time that he will start to grow out of them soon anyway. Was considering making a bed for them so maybe he has them in his room but not in his bed?Thanks Wishes glad to know I'm on the right track, for the moment will keep doing what I'm doing and try not to panic. it just takes me back 25 years and want to do the best for him so he doesn't have the same experiences I had!

  • Thanks that's reassuring as it sounds like I am doing most things. I always change his bed linen every week and have anti allergy protectors for the pillows. I have a dyson pet hair hoover which I use at least twice a DAY, I'm a bit of a freak about dog hair, although I love my two I can't bear the hair so downstairs gets hoovered twice a day which hopefully limits the travel of the hair upstairs. The dogs are not allowed upstairs either. We've had one of our dogs for over two years so that doesn't seem to be a trigger and we have a new puppy but Thomas' asthma was getting worse before he arrived too. Funnily enough, I'm not allergic to the dogs but am really bad with cats! However my sister who has dreadful asthma has 2 cats but is allergic to my dogs. I am of course allergic to her cats. SO it makes it hard for us to see each other.We don't have feather pillows as I can't even have them in the same room as me but think it might be time to buy new pillows and anti allergen covers. Will go for the memory foam I think as I have heard good things about the mattresses being good for asthma. Not sure if this is true. Anyone know?Like the idea of rotating the toys, he's a very sensible 7 year old and if I explain it to him that it might be making it worse then he will be fine. It is about that time that he will start to grow out of them soon anyway. Was considering making a bed for them so maybe he has them in his room but not in his bed?Thanks Wishes glad to know I'm on the right track, for the moment will keep doing what I'm doing and try not to panic. it just takes me back 25 years and want to do the best for him so he doesn't have the same experiences I had!

  • hi helen

    i would defo push for an allergy test and allergy testing can be performed on children > 18 months-2 years so age is no problem!

    also, as he is over 6 yes carry on moonitoring his peak flow in the diary, you may notice some patterns in there - worse in mornings for example. or on particular day of week when he has been doing certain activity? that kind of thing.

    before you go back to ur next appt make a list of questions u wanna ask before u go so incase ur mind goes blank when u get there! haha - its all written down.

    try and keep a lil diary of if and when he has attacks - saying possible triggers he in contact with, symptoms, how much reliever (blue inh) needed and if a+e needed etc to show at ur next appt...

    obviously if you have any concerns etc, try see them again before the 4 weeks!

    also try ringing the AsthmaUK nurses as they offer great support and advice

    hope this is helpful

    feel free PM me at anytime :)

    good luck

    xx

  • miracle asthma mattress isnt supposed to be as good as it seems - just money making scheme according to GP etc.. but yet other people like wishes find them helpful, so depends on the individual...

    all i was advised ensuring washing bed linen changed and washed on at least 60 degrees once a week

    and also damp dusting round the house (i use wetwipes, or damp cloth lol) no fans either cos that just blows the dust round!

    x

  • Just wanted to clarify that I don't have a special mattress, though I did suggest that you could consider getting covers for the mattress/duvet/pillows.

    Personally, I have a cover for the top pillow (the one on which I rest my face), and this pillow is made of memory foam, which I find more comfortable than an ordinary pillow, though I wasn't aware that memory foam was supposed to be beneficial for asthma.

    My partner and I used to have a memory foam mattress topper (until the cat weed on it), but this was because I have a severe joint disorder, rather than for my asthma! I'd consider getting another mattress topper, though I did find that it was very warm, so might have been quite unpleasant in the sticky summer months. I also found that I would get 'stuck' in it, where it moulded round my body, and I'd have real difficulty moving around in the bed!

    I agree with Snowygirl that your peak flow diary is your best friend in trying to spot trends/triggers. Even now, 20 years after starting my first peak flow diary, I still keep one, and still write notes on it to help me to understand the patterns (I write changes in medications, changes in symptoms, any unusual activities, hospital admissions, etc.). At times I have even been known to combine a detailed peak flow diary with a food diary, medication and symptom diary in a desperate attempt to spot patterns that might help me to gain more control over my asthma!

    This may sound extreme, but I would recommend getting a folder so that you can keep everything relating to your son's health in one place. Like the 'red book' but more. So if you get a helpful leaflet from your asthma nurse, it could go in the folder, along with letters from any healthcare people, peak flow diary, perhaps with a cover sheet about your son's GP details, your contact details, the medications he takes, any known allergies, etc. This sort of thing is quite handy for taking on school trips (or for using as a basis for writing letters to go in school files/to the school nurse) as well as for taking along to appointments with new doctors. I'm always amazed by how much they expect me to advocate for myself, so having this information to hand is useful.

    It may seem like overkill for mild/moderate childhood asthma, but I wish that I'd got into the habit of collating all medical information into one filing system years ago, rathat than waiting until I was truly considered to be 'medically complex', by which time it was a bit of a mammoth task!

  • apologies wishes, thought u meant the mattress :)

    i also do like wishes does - in relation to keeping a folder of such with discharge summaries, letter etc and in relation to peak flow, to note down anything unusual i.e. changes in meds, symptoms, activities, admissions etc. to help gain control.

    x x

You may also like...