Monday, July 13, 2009

Breathe In, Breathe Out

jammin' with cousins
We spent this past weekend at the lake with Matthew's grandparents, uncle, auntie, and cousins. Unfortunately, Matthew came down with a cold when we arrived on Friday afternoon. Despite not feeling so well, he still had fun hanging out with everyone, giving high fives when requested and smiling.

I'm a cowboy
While he seemed to cope well enough during the day, his breathing worried me at night especially with the concern of apnea already lingering in my mind. He had caught a few cold viruses when he was younger, but nothing that seemed as bad as this.

Friday night
I checked on him a few times in the middle of the night. He stirred a lot and he was breathing like a bear.

Saturday night
We had quite the scare in the wee hours on Sunday. After a few times of rushing into his room when he woke up fussing in the middle of the night, I decided to sleep in Matthew's room. He was sleeping restlessly and breathing like a bear.

Then at around 3:30am, he sounded terrible. He was having a very hard time breathing, even with the humidifier on. I picked him up. I held him close. Bill burst into the room just as I thought of calling to him over the baby monitor. We turned the light on to check Matthew's color. His lips weren't blue (Thank God!) but every breath he took was tight and labored, like breathing through a very narrow straw. Should we take him to the hospital? Call 911? Do something fast PLEASE!

Bill went to wake his sister and her husband, who is a doctor - not a pediatrician, but a medical doctor nonetheless. We were so grateful they were there. He quickly tried to listen to Matthew's lungs but couldn't hear anything more alarming (like wheezing) other than the obvious labored breathing. He suggested that we take him into a steamed-up bathroom and stay there for as long as we could or until Matthew sounded better. The humidity helped tremendously! It loosened the congestion that seemed to have accumulated and maybe dried up in his throat. What a relief!

Sunday night
We were back from the lake on Sunday afternoon. That night was another restless one for Matthew and I. I whisked him into the bathroom for the "steam treatment" at 9:30pm and then again at 3am.

A Nasty Summer Cold?
I took him to his pediatrician today. He has not had a fever with this cold, his nose was running, he had a hoarse voice, his throat was red, and he had a hard time breathing at nap time and at night. His appetite has waned but overall, he's doing fine and getting plenty of fluids. The diagnosis: It could just be a nasty summer cold with croup-like symptoms.

our home remedies for cold symptomsHis lungs sounded fine and that the noisy breathing was coming from his upper airway caused by his swollen throat and (most likely) swollen vocal cords, which are. He is to take a minimal dosage of a liquid steroid for 3 days to reduce the swelling. With it being for a short period of time, he should not experience any side effects. The home remedies for easing cold symptoms, which have always worked for us in the past, seem to have very little effect for this particular bout with this virus including:
  • Warm baths in a steamed-up bathroom.
  • Saline solution - a few drops or sprays in each nostril as needed.
  • Nasal aspirator to clear his nose.
  • Aquaphor or Vaseline under the nose to keep that area moisturized.
  • Vicks babyrub on the chest and back.
  • Using a humidifier in his room.
  • Using a crib wedge under his sheets. We use DEX Safe Lift Deluxe, whether he has a cold or not, since sleeping at an incline is supposed to help drain the airway of congestion. However, Matthew is such a wiggly sleeper that he ends up sleeping with his head on the opposite end of the incline. Oh well. He also likes to sleep with his bottom in the air.
  • Steam treatments (latest addition to our list since Saturday night). This basically involves taking him in a bathroom with the door closed and the hot shower running so he can breathe in the steam to ease any congestion that may have accumulated in his throat.
I'm not quite sure how I feel about the steroid. I do know that I want Matthew to breathe better and not risk having his narrow airway close up on him at night. Breathe in...breathe out.

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Julie said...

Hi Ria! Can't wait to get to meet you and adorable Matthew!

Jack very occasionally has a cold that causes him to have trouble breathing easily and sound super wheezy. We do about the same stuff you're doing. We give him breathing treatments with a nebulizer and an inhaled steroid (as needed) that really helps. Hope your little guy feels better soon and you can all get some sleep!

Unknown said...

I'm so sorry Matthew had such a rough weekend. Poor little guy. I hope he gets some relief soon, so that everyone can rest easier.

Lisa said...

One other thing that might help... chest percussions (also known as Chest Physical Therapy). Sheridan's pulmonologists, and his physical therapists, say chest percussions can help little guys manually loosen up the congestion and get it out. Sheridan's PT says that she plans to do this with her own baby when s/he is born (and she knows other people who are chest physical therapists and do it with their own kids even for minor colds). Let me know if you want more info - I should be getting a hand out on the different positions this week. I'm happy to share it with you :)

Ria said...

Julie, Thanks for stopping by. Breathing treatments sound much easier than liquid steroid, which smells horrible. Matthew wasn't too happy with his first dose. I'm hoping that giving him this liquid steroid doesn't jeapardize my feeding attempts. Sigh.

ABandCsMom, Thanks! We all look forward to getting more sleep.

Lisa, Chest percussions sounds interesting. I had not heard of that before. Can you email me a handout so I can show our PT and ask her about it too? Thanks!

Sharon said...

Ugh! Brennan had the same thing a couple of weeks ago. The at-home treatment didn't work - so we ended up at the hospital in the middle of the night. Luckily, he was back to himself the next day and breathing easily. I hope Matthew is on the way to recovery so you can all get a good nights sleep!

Lori said...

Oh no! Croup can happen in the summer? I wasn't planning on worrying about croup again until at least October.
I know those nights of labored breathing can be tough - especially on us parents...We had Anna to the hospital twice last winter with the croup. They ended up admitting her for a couple of days because her breathing was so labored and her sat levels were low. She also ended up with a collapsed lung as a result. It was just so painful to watch and listen to her struggling to breathe.
I hope the steroids do the trick and that Matthew is feeling better soon -- and that you all can get some sleep!

Violette's Mom said...

Ria - this little device is a must have around our house to clear out the yucky stuff! Is it gross? Yes, but the mommy instinct kicks in and you feel good about getting that little nose cleaned out!

Monica said...

Hope Matthew is feeling better!!! Sounds like croup, ugg I hated when Adam would get this, it was always so scary!! Adam would get it usually the end of May and then again in Oct. thankfully he has not had it since he was six (knock on wood!!!!) I also hated putting him on steriods but it would only be for a couple days and a small amount and it really does do the trick!!!! Good luck, we'll say some prayers for Matthew!!

Ria said...

Thanks Sharon. We would've probably gone to the hospital too if our brother-in-law wasn't with us at the lake. It's scary.

Yo Mamma Mamma, the nosefrida is quite the contraption. Interesting how suction power is provided by sucking on the other end of the tube. I think I'm curious enough to try it. Thanks for the link.

Monica, Thanks for the prayers.

Arties mom said...

Man! I am so sorry he was sick. One thing I do in addition to all the solutions you have is put the vicks on the bottom of Arties feet and put socks on. Why? I dont know but it works!

It reminds me of my grandmothers sage advice to always keep your feet warm when you have a cold. It seems to clear the sinus issues up. Try sticking your feet in hot water next time you are stuffy!

Cori Sarno Villacres said...

I have tried something similar to the nosefrida... what we like even better though is the battery operated nasal aspirator. Graco makes one that plays music too... it is awesome! My little one has had a couple of colds in his short five months and we could not live without that aspirator.

Ria said...

Ann, thanks for the additional suggestion. I remember getting that information via email and checked with Matthew's pediatrician to find out if it was plausible. That's interesting to know that it works.

Cori, it's amazing how many gadgets are available for our little one's needs these days. Nice to know we have good options. Thanks for the information and link!