Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Breathing Treatments

Say hello to our new friend, the nebulizer. It is the newest addition to our daily routine.

Matthew's pediatrician detected wheezing at his most recent appointment a few days ago. She wanted him on arbuterol, which is an inhalation solution used to relieve bronchospasm. After one breathing treatment at the doctor's office, the wheezing stopped (or at least quieted down). The good news is he doesn't have bronchitis. The other news is his bronchospasm (coughing fits) is a symptom of Reactive Airway Disease. It's not the same as asthma but I read that a small percentage of children under 5 may go on to develop asthma.

As with any medication, using arbuterol presents some possible side effects (copied from package insert):
- Central Nervous System: tremors (20%), dizziness (7%), nervousness (4%), headache (3%), insomnia (1%)
- Gastrointestinal: nausea (4%), dyspepsia (1%)
- Ear, Nose and Throat: pharyngitis (<1%), nasal congestion (1%) - Respiratory: bronchospasm (8%), cough (4%), bronchitis (4%), wheezing (1%)

He breathes in a dose every 4 to 6 hours or as needed. Each dose takes an average of 15 minutes. I am thankful that he doesn't mind the breathing treatments at all. He's even willing to hold the mask up to his face by himself.

He is content to listen to audiobooks while sitting on the couch next to the (rather loud) nebulizer. Sometimes he plays on my iPhone.

We don't know what's causing his symptoms. His allergy (blood) tests have always come back negative. Can the type of allergy test be a factor in accuracy of results?

He has not had RSV, which apparently increases the chances of developing asthma.

Maybe it's genetic. A few distant relatives have had asthma.

Maybe it's the current high level of ragweed (pollen) this time of year. His doctor did say that this is peak time for such symptoms to surface.

I hope it's not from his swimming lessons at an indoor pool. He loves swimming and he would be very sad if this was a cause. I googled a few articles using keywords "indoor swimming pool asthma" stating that by-products of chlorine and human organics (like sweat) in indoor swimming pools are suggested to increase the chance of asthma in children. However, it's not conclusive.

I hope the cat isn't the culprit either.

Right now, I am hoping that it doesn't develop into asthma or bronchitis.