Croup Vs. Asthma

An interesting thing happened this past weekend.

My attention was drawn to an article on Scary Mommy about an Australian mom, Sophie Cachia, who featured a video clip of her baby having an asthma attack on her Instagram account, as awareness to other parents on what an asthma attack looks like. If you haven’t seen the clip, I encourage you to do so.

I found all this interesting because as a mom, I’ve been there, done that, and gone through a lot, so, I know just how worrisome or terrifying something like a respiratory condition can be, even if it isn’t your first experience with it. Both of my kids have a history of Croup and my son had a small asthma attack once before already, but he isn’t diagnosed as asthmatic. No matter how many times I go through any of these common respiratory illnesses, it’s always just as scary and I worry just as much for my child.

I thought it was a great idea that this Australian mom thought of posting this! It’s common for parents to be unsure if what they are witnessing happen to their child is cause for concern or when it’s the right time to get help. Brilliant! Way to go Sophie Cachia! Points out to you, I thought!

That was mid-day Saturday that I came across this post. Little did I know then, that I would be in the hospital ER mid-day Sunday (yes, the VERY next day, 24 hrs. later) with my son for an asthma attack!

Although a seasoned veteran when it comes to these respiratory issues, I too, was a bit unsure about what was happening. Was it a Croup attack? Was it an asthma attack? Is his chest moving enough to be considered an ‘attack’? Is he wheezing, having a barking cough? I wasn’t sure! Should I try one of the tricks I’ve learned throughout the years or head straight to the hospital? Albuterol or saline?

Turns out it was diagnosed as an asthma attack. I attempted to get my son home immediately to see if a steamy bathroom would help him breathe better, which is usually what happens in the case of Croup, but he continued to deteriorate.

Then I began to think, he doesn’t have that barking or seal cough; Maybe this wasn’t Croup, but an actual asthma attack. His chest looked exactly like Sophie’s baby. Should I try and give him Albuterol inhalations? I didn’t want to risk it. I wasn’t sure and if it was Croup, Albuterol should not be given! He was unusually quiet and getting clammy, sweaty, even though the a/c was on. I finally decided to have him rushed to the nearest hospital ER, where they immediately began several Albuterol treatments and gave him some oral steroids.

3 or 4 hours later (seemed like forever and he was so close to being admitted), he was better and we were released with instructions for continued care at home.

This morning we visited his pediatrician, where I got a great lesson on Croup versus Asthma that I though was worth sharing!

 

 

Croup

  • Viral illness (this means antibiotics do not help)
  • Causes narrowing of airways; narrowing of voice box and windpipe
  • More prevalent with change of seasons, primarily around Fall and winter, and in the North
  • Affects breathing IN
  • Symptoms worsen at night
  • Most notable symptoms include a ‘barking’ or ‘seal’ cough (sounds almost like a dog or seal) and a visible struggle to breathe (chest heaves in and out as child struggles to breathe)
  • Higher than normal temperature

Treatment

In severe cases, a steroid is given and should keep the illness under control for about 48 hours. My son has been given a steroid injection at the hospital when he was a toddler. Albuterol is NOT given to a child suffering from Croup as it could make symptoms worse. Rather, inhalations of Saline are effective.

Ways I Keep My Child’s Croup Under Control

All the following can be done as many times as needed. I like to start these practices as soon as I hear that distinctive ‘barking’ cough until the cough sounds normal again and child seems to be under no more distress.

  • Letting a hot shower run (at its hottest temperature) so that it fills the bathroom with steam. The steam helps to hydrate the voice box/vocal cords and helps to open the airways again.
  • Immediately after the steam, expose my child to some type of cold air. Pediatrician told me not to be afraid to putting them in front of an open freezer (clothed, of course)! If it’s a chilly night, just taking them outside helps. Also, a car ride with the a/c on or the windows down if it’s chilly out (some parents find that the ride in the car on the way to the hospital alleviates the symptoms by the time they arrive).
  • Saline spray through the nose or via nebulizer machine.
  • Humidifier in room (some people prefer a vaporizer and say it works).
  • I like to diffuse high quality Eucalyptus Oil in room throughout the night
  • I like to rub high quality Eucalyptus Oil at the bottoms of my kid’s feet and sometimes on their back where their lungs would be.

When in doubt and/or if nothing seems to alleviate symptoms, seek emergency medical assistance… go to the hospital! Call 9-1-1 if child begins to change color (blue is not good, people!), has extreme difficulty or even stops breathing, or if there are drastic changes in mood/behavior!

For more great info and helpful videos on Croup, visit:

https://www.asthmafoundation.org.nz/your-health/other-respiratory-conditions/croup

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1FoWWD_on4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qbn1Zw5CTbA

 

 

 

Asthma

  • Genetic susceptibility and/or environmental factors (http://acaai.org/asthma/about, para. 2)
  • Shortness of breath and wheezing sound as child breathes OUT
  • coughing
  • “two types of asthma: allergic (caused by exposure to an allergen) and non-allergic (caused by stress, exercise, illnesses like a cold or the flu, or exposure to extreme weather, irritants in the air or some medications),” (http://acaai.org/asthma/about, para. 3). My son has only experienced non-allergic asthma twice that was brought on by exercise (he’s VERY active) while he seemed to have a cold (normal cough, slight congestion)
  • visible difficulty breathing in the chest; tightness of chest (as in Sophie Cachia’s Instagram post)

Treatment

  • PREVENTION is key! I usually need to be aware of when my son has a cold or cough so that I can try to keep him calm and limit his physical exertion. We’ve learned to keep him from training or sports during a persistent cold. Learn your child’s triggers and avoid them!
  • There are “quick-relief” or “long-term” (https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/faqs.htm, para. 12) medications when it comes to treating asthma and medications may vary depending on the individual.
  • Asthma attacks, or flare-ups, are usually treated in the hospital with a series of nebulizer treatments. Steroids are usually also administered and, like croup, keeps another attack from happening. My son was given several little steroid tablets to be taken orally and two rounds of 3 doses of Albuterol via nebulizer (w/ something else; I forget the name… you know, one of those complicated medical names), per round. If he didn’t improve enough after the second round, he would have been admitted. However, my son did improve and we were discharged with instructions to do an Albuterol treatment via nebulizer at home every 4 hours for the next 72 hours. Then, if there is significant improvement, we could gradually decrease the Albuterol treatments because it should never be halted abruptly when prescribed over long periods of time. However, any sign of fever or another flare-up and we were instructed to go back to the ER or pediatrician.
  • Inhalers are sometimes recommended to help control a flare-up

Ways I Keep my Child’s Asthma Under Control

  • Since I already know my son is susceptible to a non-allergic type of asthma that seems to be caused by physical exertion while having a cold or cough, I limit his physical activity when he displays a cold or cough of any type.
  • My son does not seem to have any allergies so I don’t worry about avoiding anything in particular, but I like to do the following while he is sick or has a cough:
  • I like to diffuse high quality Eucalyptus Oil in room throughout the night
  • I like to rub high quality Eucalyptus Oil at the bottoms of my kid’s feet and sometimes on their back where their lungs would be.
  • I have also learned that because my son is susceptible to respiratory illnesses, also triggered by changes in weather or temperatures, I start Albuterol treatments via nebulizer at home if he displays a persistent cough that DOES NOT sound like croup (remember, Croup = NO Albuterol; Croup = Saline). I’ve learned to travel with a nebulizer system and Albuterol. My pediatrician allows me to keep a supply of Albuterol at home for whenever I feel any of my kids needs it and I’ve learned to determine when it is needed and how often.

Again, and I can’t stress this enough, when in doubt and/or if nothing seems to alleviate symptoms, seek emergency medical assistance… go to the hospital! Call 9-1-1 if child begins to change color (blue is not good, people!), has extreme difficulty or even stops breathing, or if there are drastic changes in mood/behavior!

For more great info and helpful videos on Asthma, visit:

http://acaai.org/asthma/about

https://www.cdc.gov/asthma/faqs.htm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzfLDi-sL3w

I’m Sorry For My Lateness — Scary Mommy

Great post to share to follow up yesterday’s post! Read and follow Scary Mommy below!

Getting out the door on time feels like a race every damn day. I am sweating. I am looking for the car keys. I am yelling for everyone to get in the car, and my hands are overloaded and I have to pee — again. I drop my purse and water bottle on the kitchen island and run…

via I’m Sorry For My Lateness — Scary Mommy

Higher Perspective

Teacher: “Why are you late today?”

Student: “I have a very blessed and amazing life.”

Our kids were late to school today….again. I mean, they’re not late everyday. Each semester our kids are late to school anywhere from 3 – 5 times. Honestly, it may be a tiny bit more this final semester as we approach the […]

via Higher Perspective — Team Valdes

Just a little piece written earlier in the year over at Team Valdes.

Kid’s Parties Are Overrated

Have you thrown your kid a birthday party before? If you have, then you know how expensive they are. If you haven’t, then take it from me, just pack up everyone’s bags and leave town for a weekend; DO NOT throw the damn party!

I’ve never been a fan of kid’s birthday parties, which is why I generally don’t throw one, but I make exceptions. My kids get a 1st birthday party, maybe a 5th, and more recently, I threw my son a 10th birthday bash. I’ve now decided that after 10 years old, NO MORE parties!

Here’s the thing:

1- You’re going to spend a shit load of money on just a few hours. You might as well take that money, use it to take a small, family vacation anywhere, and make days worth of memories with your kid. Besides, who doesn’t need another get-away or reason to escape the mundane???

2- You’re going to invite guests and guests are too damn difficult to please! Forget it! Don’t even try! It’s impossible to please everyone. There will always be nay-sayers and negatives. It doesn’t matter how big or small you go, people are difficult to please and can be critical! Not like this should matter, because the only one that should matter is your kid, but seriously… it bugs.

3- Once you’re in it, you have to go all the way! Once you decide to throw a kids party, you can’t go half ass and there’s a lot that goes into it: a variety of food, enough cake, a theme, some type of decor, kid’s take home thank you baggies (I don’t know when this started because when I was a kid I never took anything home with me when I went to a party, but it’s for real now!), activities, invites, details, etc.. All of that equals ‘mula‘ (💰), baby!

Oh, and about those thank you baggies… IMG_4484it’s always full of stuff us moms want to throw out anyway! Am I the only one who hates finding candy and annoying little, useless, plastic toys (AKA ‘trash’) around the house after a party?! I know all that crap ends up in the trash within days, maybe even hours! Why do we continue to spend money on this?! Why is this a thing?! No matter how much I tried to keep them simple, homemade, and affordable, I still spent about $50 on 15 of them… and got left with about 5! 

4- The prep. Nothing more to say.

5- The clean-up. Again, nothing more to say.

6- You will always get left with a ton of shit you don’t need, nor want. Example: I just threw my son a 10th birthday party and got left with 2 boxes of large pizzas (after giving away about 5!), almost a whole cake, balloons, an extra tray of finger food, extra ‘thank you’ baggies, etc.. All things you already spent good, hard-earned money for. How does this happen? Well, you always have to plan for those that RSVP with a ‘maybe’ or those that RSVP with a yes, but don’t show. It happens.

7- The after party exhaustion that only Mom will endure is real. Nothing more to say here either, except that at 5 months pregnant, it took me the whole next day to recover. The exhaustion was physical and real!

I highly recommend taking a few days to get away with your kids over throwing them a birthday party. In the end, what we spent on our son’s birthday bash, we could have gone out of town for the weekend, and, in my opinion, it would have been less stressful.

However, because I don’t generally throw birthday parties, the kids are left with that want, which is why I throw about 3 per kid’s childhood… no more! In the end, they do have a great time and are, hopefully, thankful for all the effort you put into their big day. There is also that amazing feeling when you see your child smiling and loving all the attention on their day. I guess that could be worth, at least some of, what was spent.

IMG_4472

My son turned 10 last week and we threw him a paintball party for him and his friends. I have to say it turned out to be a great success and everyone loved it, but it’s always a difficult expense and a tad stressful. Not to mention, this all happened only 1 month since we experienced a serious hurricane in our South Florida area, where displaced without power for about a week and a half, my husband has been working around the clock, our city is still cleaning up debris, and I am 5 months pregnant. Just a jolly combination, huh?!

So, if you were wondering where the Hell the ‘chaos’ part of my life is… oh, believe me, it’s DEFINITELY there! My house is a mess and in 4 days my husband has yet another triathlon race… a 70.3 half Ironman. That only means my house will be a mess, again, next week.

IMG_4481

shutters still up on the other side of that glass sliding door, piles of laundry that got put aside while I planned a party, worked par-time, and drove the kids around town all week, a paddle board sticking that we stored inside during the hurricane and bags of charcoal we bought just in case. Bikes are serious in our house; We ARE bike people! And.. that is a new frame I still haven’t been able to get to.

 

Yup, life is crazy busy! Just taking one day at a time!

 

 

 

I Love You, Girl!

I’ve been asked several times in my life, “who do you admire most?” It’s a common question. I’ve always struggled to come up with something good, but I’ve never really had an automatic, immediate answer that I felt confident or sure about. Sure, there is always the admiration for important people in history, significant people in the world who make great humanitarian contributions, political figures (well…. maybe not too many of those 😉), and then there is another common response:

“I admire my mom/dad because they worked hard for me and my family and they have always been there for me.”

However, this past weekend, I found my true answer.

I admire my daughter.

My daughter is 8 years old. She’s a ray of sunshine. She’s a beautiful, boundless, creative, confident, sassy, loving, dramatic, sensitive, fearless, happy, easy-going gift that I truly believe was sent directly to me, for me. She is everything I am not, nor ever was, but everything I always wanted to be.

This realization came to me this past weekend when we attended a Oktoberfest celebration with friends at our local German American Social Club. We are not German, nor are we members of this club, but they throw the best annual, family friendly Oktoberfest in my area! They have amazing, home-cooked, German food, live bands, bounce houses, friendly competitions (my hubby participated in the Stein holding competition this year), and plenty of beer, but never any worries. The atmosphere is safe, amazing, friendly, inclusive, and lively! Oktoberfest has become another one of our favorite Fall celebrations even though we have no known German ancestry!

At this celebration, I watched my daughter dancing on every dance floor and have the time of her life, without a worry or care, without a doubt. She made new friends all on her own and learned new dances. She held hands with adults and children and learned German folk dances without any worries. I watched her carry herself confidently and happily. I watched as she didn’t take herself too seriously or get in the way of herself. I watched and admired how different she was from me.

I’ve always been more withdrawn, social, but still withdrawn; As if too uneasy to really let myself go for fear of people really seeing me. I’ve always been my biggest and worst critic. I always get in the way of myself. I’ve always loved a good time and enjoy a healthy social life, but I’ve always felt inhibited… by myself, my head. My head is my own worst enemy. It never stops. I’ve had to work hard for many years to learn to control my racing thoughts and learn to let go or relax. It’s still a work in progress. I would never just get up on a dance floor, empty or full, and just dance my heart away. Less, with people I didn’t know. Sure, I enjoyed my fair share of nightclubs when I was younger, but it usually took a few drinks to loosen me up. I’m the girl sitting on the side and watching, always thinking; wishing I had the courage to get up and just have fun, but never being able to. I live a lifetime of half-lived moments. My daughter… she lives, fully!

That night, I watched as my daughter had the fun I’ve always wanted to have. That innocent, confident, easy-going fun where you don’t care and it doesn’t matter. I watched as she fully embraced the moment, life, the experience. As I watched, admiring, loving her personality and confidence, I thought of how I need to live more like her. I need to live more like my daughter and less like me. I need to embrace every moment, love fully, not care about anyone else, and enjoy the gift, the opportunity of the moment I’m currently living. I need to let go more easily.

So, I got up and danced.

I walked onto the dance floor, let go of my inhibitions, and danced with my daughter, 5 months pregnant and all. I danced more that night than I had ever danced before because it was real. It was just innocent, spontaneous, fun! She loved dancing with me, but I loved it so much more! I even danced to the ‘chicken dance’ and it was a blast!

My daughter is the person that hugs you tightly and means it even though she’s only seen you a handful of times. My daughter is the type of person who sincerely declares, “how are you?! I haven’t seen you in a while! I’ve missed you,” because she truly means it. She doesn’t take herself, or anything for that matter, too seriously. I’ve struggled with her and I know that I will continue to, only because we are so different and sometimes it’s difficult for me to understand her, but I know it’s she who will fully live, truly happy.

I believe she was a gift to me, so that I can learn from her. We think that as adults its only the kids who have so much to learn from us, but I know there is so much that adults can learn from kids. Children are reminders of the things we should know, but sometimes are too busy or distracted to remember or live out.

My daughter is a ray of sunshine in my busy life and although I know she will need me to help guide her along her journey (God knows she’s going to need someone to help her get past the whining and drama!), I also know I have a lot yet, to learn from her. I admire my daughter and aim to live more like her, less like me.

I love you, girl. ❤️

Conversations With My Boy…

bath-1248940_960_720

This may be TMI for some, but hey, it’s the truth! This is an actual conversation between my 10 year old son and myself today, when I HAD to use our only bathroom while he was still showering because I REALLY couldn’t wait…

Son: “UH! Mom, you’re pooping?!”

Mom: “I’m sorry! I’m pooping for two now, not just one, and eating super healthy so, it’s basically like my ass goes to war with the toilet, regularly…. and wins.”

Son: laughs hysterically 😂

I just totally LOVE the relationship I have with my son! He’s awesome!

Don’t worry, he didn’t suffer long; He was basically done with his shower and walked out laughing after our little exchange. As for my war with the toilet… it didn’t last long either, thanks to a healthy diet. 😜

You know there’s a somewhat related blog coming soon, right?!

When Mom’s Loose Their Sh*t!

Like most SAHM’s, I don’t generally watch television because… well, there just isn’t enough time in the day, but I do check my email and browse my FB at least once a day (mainly as an outlet when I’m needing a break from the monotony that can be my weekday), somewhere between kitchen cleaning duties and checking under my children’s furniture for mysteriously hidden dirty laundry.

I recently stumbled upon an article posted in the Parents section of today.com, in regards to a piece done on the Today Show to promote the new Bad Moms Christmas movie starring Mila Kunis. Kunis spoke to the show and was quoted saying, “I literally drove myself crazy with my first kid.” I must admit that upon reading this one little line, I kind-a, sort-a laughed… a lot… inside.

I didn’t really have to read anything else in that article or interview to understand what she meant. Inside, my heart was just saying, “I know,” in that warm, soft, understanding tone that you would use when trying to console a friend.

I KNOW!

I tell everyone that going from zero children to one is a BIG deal! I personally think that the adjustment of going from zero to one is the biggest and most difficult adjustment. That first baby has the potential to drive us women sh*t crazy and change us completely to where we don’t even recognize ourselves anymore!

One minute you’re barefoot and carefree not bothering to waste a dime on antibacterial anything. Suddenly, the next minute you’re clinically OCD and trying to control the universe!

I remember all too clearly the pressure and stress I put myself under as a first-time mom and I see it all the time in other moms. I didn’t want too many people touching my baby. I didn’t want people coughing or sneezing in the same room as my baby. I didn’t want my baby to put ANYTHING in its mouth that wasn’t my nipple. I didn’t want my baby’s hands to touch ANYTHING because we all know where babies hands end up. I didn’t want my baby to cry. I didn’t want my baby to touch the floor… ever. I didn’t want my baby to share toys because sharing toys equals sharing germs. I tried to schedule everything perfectly and keep it consistent – feedings, outings, naps, baths, bedtimes. Breastmilk exclusively, no tv, natural, organic, homemade baby puree, early exposure to books, classical music, etc…

It was CRAZY!

Needless to say, I remember that time as being VERY difficult. The worst part is that I remember being incredibly stressed, on edge. I remember being grumpy, moody, and let me not even get into how critical I was with my husband (poor thing); he couldn’t do anything right so, I just had to do it all myself.

I think every mom can relate to these things to some extent. We all go out and buy the most expensive diaper and wipes brand for the first kid. We all stress over so much stupid and irrelevant crap with the first kid. Some mom’s never even recover! I know women whose friends just claim plain and simple, “she just changed… didn’t used to be like that… I don’t know what happened.” Well, I know. I know because I’ve been there and done that. However, most of us do snap out of it… THANKFULLY!

I really can’t say for sure what it was that got me over that “crazy” hill, but after my second was born, I decided that my sanity was more valuable to me than the germs on the floor that might give my child a cold, but most likely won’t kill her. It was SO different with the second and  we put so much less pressure on ourselves with each child because we live and learn. Ahhh… the beauty of wisdom!

I realized that germs don’t necessarily kill (most of the time) and everyone is happier when things aren’t so perfect. I learned to breathe, relax a bit, and let things play out. I learned to let my kids explore and figure things out for themselves. I learned to take care of myself and value my sanity above my need for perfection. I admit that it doesn’t happen automatically and I still have to be intentional about my intent to be more ‘relaxed,’ but it’s made me happier with myself. It’s made me a happier mom and I think it’s healthier for our kids when they are given some space to figure things out for themselves.

So, Mila Kunis, I KNOW! I’ve been there too and if I weren’t pregnant right now, I’d raise a beer to that perfect little line!