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New ball of wax

Hi everyone! 👋🏻 

I’ve been mostly absent on here these last months. Why? Our youngest son who has both food allergies and environmental allergies had been doing fantastic for months (9 months to be exact). We had even weaned him off of all his allergy and asthma medicines (under the doctors orders/care). AND he was tolerating dairy of all things!!!

You know the saying “all good things must come to an end?” ….well, they did. 🤦🏻‍♀️ 

We enrolled our youngest in a brick & mortar elementary school….he had previously been doing virtual school. This was on halloween day. Since October, he’s had an ear infection every month, sometimes more frequently (as often as every two weeks). October was when we reintroduced dairy as well. No other dairy allergy symptoms were showing. 

We went camping a few weeks back. ⛺️ We rode bikes, fished, played cornhole, and so much more! While on a bike ride, our son began complaining of his back hurting badly. He’s 6 so it’s not a common thing. Then he said it was hard to get a deep breath. 😢 I knew exactly what it was – his asthma. 

He missed 6 days of school after that because we were doing nebulizer treatments every 4 hours around the clock, attempting to get his lungs to loosen up. He said his lungs just always felt like they were tight, like someone was sitting on his chest. We saw the pediatrician and his pulmonologist who added in a steroid and quickly put us back on daily asthma medicines. 

Since then he’s had to use his rescue inhaler 3 times at school and a few times here at the house. Walking into the grocery store, into the cold air triggered his lungs to tighten. Dust triggers them as well. And other times he will say they’re getting tight out of the blue. 

This is not his normal asthm patterns. Normally he’s only plagued when he catches a cold – then it’ll activate his asthma. His pulmonologist agrees as well – his asthma has changed. 

This is a whole new ball of wax for us. We’re not used having issues out of the blue. And we can’t find a pattern as to what seem to be causing the episodes. I’m at a loss! I’m keeping notes as to when it happens, what he was doing when it occured, what the weather was like, etc. 

Has anyone else had any experiences like this? 

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  • LK

    Hi Christy,  

    I am glad he had such a long spell of no symptoms.  Sorry you and he are having to deal with an asthma flare.  

    For me, when my asthma is flaring and my lungs haven't yet settled down again almost anything will set them off.  Even things that aren't normal triggers will make my chest feel tight and set me to coughing.  I have cough variant asthma where the main sign of my asthma is a cough.  My chest would feel tight most of the time especially when I would encounter another trigger. 

    For a time it seems like the only pattern is the pattern of everything setting off my asthma.   

    Since his asthma seems to have changed I would suggest keeping in close contact with his pulmonologist, as you, I am sure.  Ask how long until he improves, what other changes to look out for, what changes can you take so he encounters as few triggers as possible.  I know you are already doing that last one but when asthma changes it doesn't hurt to get a refresher on things.  

    Trying to remember, but could the ear infections be a symptom of an allergy or just from catching illnesses from being around all the other children as school?  I seem to remember a friend when I was young who had food allergies and had lots of ear infections but don't remember clearly if there was any connection.  Of course winter is a hard time to keep kids healthy what with the weather and being inside more and just kids being around other kids.

    That is wise of you to keep notes on what is going on and how it affects him.  It is so hard when our children are under the weather.  

    I have been taking notes on when my asthma flares for some months.  It does help figure out your triggers but there are times when I still have no clue what has set off my lungs.  

    My best advice is to keep doing what you are doing – have him keep taking meds on schedule, contact his doctor if something doesn't seem right (mom's have an awesome sense of that)  ,  be patient.  That last one is very hard.  I know.  

    My long flares can take weeks and months to get under control.  

    Sorry to be so long-winded!  

    Please let us know how he is doing!  How you are doing, too!

  • Melissa G

    Does he have an 

    Have you kept the dairy in his diet or did you pull it?

    Sending you lots of ! 

  • Shea

    He might have really bad spring allergies… Has he recently been tested for environmentals? Im trying to think 9 months ago would have been summer. So his symptims seemed to improve after spring was over and his success was during lower non-spring pollen periods, and then spring comes snd he has no allergy asthma meds and so it may have hit mlhom hard. Which my son and I have spring allergies–among others, and we try to avoid being outside a lot until after 4pm in spring. And we keep windows closed, run air, wash sheets weekly in hot water. He might want to stsy in for PE time at school and di an alternative activity and then do exercise later in the day until this smooths out or the pollens go down or both. Once things get flared, lungs can be sensitive and oral food syndrome can happen too. We do virtual school and a homeschool co-op .He is 7. 

  • CAPuttPutt

    @Melissa G Yes we pull dairy from his diet! If he is still having ear infections even without the dairy, we will see the ENT for the possibility of tubes. Right now he’s actually complaining of both ear hurting again….it may just be fluid or we may have another ear infection setting in. 

    Yes, we do have an action plan – an updated one. His school has a copy of his 504 as well and they have been informed of the new circumstances with his asthma. We had s situation Thursday at school (our son was scared to tell his coach he needed his inhaler). Thankfully everything turned out ok – but we addressed the issues with the school. 

    @Shea That’s the oddest thing about all of this – we had a skin prick test done two years ago for environmental allergies…all were negative. Then we did another one, this time a blood test, on March 21st….all negative again!! But his pulmonologist knows and acknowledges that he’s allergic to something because of how nasty his nose was when we saw her (runny, crusty…..just gross snot lol), and the post nasal drip she saw. We just have no clue what is setting this off! We even tested for popular local allergens here in the Florida and Georgia areas. 

    My allergies are bad but I tested positive – at least I know which pollen counts to watch out for and when (amount other things). 

    @LK When he was first diagnosed just after age 3, his only symptom was his cough like yours. When he’d start coughing we knew something was brewing so to speak and we’d break out the nebulizer to try and get in front of whatever was coming. Then it got worse and they rediagnosed him with persistent asthma (a shortened title because I can’t remember the entire thing). At one point his Dr actually said she was seriously considering giving us a script for an emergency medicine that we would only use if we were on the phone with them when we administered it. It had gotten so bad at that time – I actually ended up quitting my job to stay home with our son because he was so sick. 

    On another note: He’s actually developed an intermittent cough over the course of the weekend which is setting off red flags with me. My gut says something is up, especially with both of his ears bothering him. 

    I talked to his pulmonologist Friday on the phone to let her know everything that’s been going on since our visit March 21st. She said to keep taking notes, that were behind the eight ball right now trying to fit together the best course of action with out limited knowledge. Of course she said I could call at anytime if something came up unexpectedly 😊 I love his Drs office! 

  • Shea

    That is weird that he seems to be allergic but not sure– does he have elevated eosinophils or IgE in blood work?

    . I have had tbe allergy blood tests that said negative to things I knew I was highly allergic, to but the skin prick test picked it up well. They said it was because the blood test are specific fir one thing in the allergen , whereas we might be allergic to a different componant in the trigger than what is in the blood test. But not all asthma is allergic type like mine either. I have also read to use observation as well as tests– so if you or he observes his breathing is worse after certain things then make notes of that and compare over time to see trends. On bad breathing days, record weather, time of day it triggered, time of year, activity, location. 

    I think it is the most frustrating not knowing what the triggers are, so I feel your pain. I hope you find some clues and answers soon!

  • CAPuttPutt

    @Shea Yes, it is very frustrating not knowing!! I'm thinking after we finish up the Claratin that we have, I may switch him over to Zyrtec.

    His teacher actually just messaged me to let me know he had to use his inhaler today around 11:45 while he and the class were in the computer lab. I am trying to be as detailed as I can in my notes….time of day, weather conditions, temperatures (inside and out), what he was doing at the time the lung began to feel tight, etc.

    Thank you for your support and encouragement Shea! It really does help me to not feel alone in this

  • Kathy P

    Hugs – that sounds really frustrating after so much time with no symptoms.

    My allergies always tested negative, but symptomatically, it was clear that I had something going on. It wasn't until I had an allergist who went by symptoms and not strictly by testing that I got relief. Eventually, I started testing positive for things and now get allergy shots to help as well.

    It's spring pollen season and it's hitting hard already! There are lots of tips on how to keep pollen out of your house to reduce exposure at . In addition to pollen, there can be mold if it's wet from spring rains.

    With his nose that bad, did the doc recommend a steroid nasal spray?

    You can put your zip into pollen.com to see your area. It's pretty high in one area along the FL/GA line. But this is the US today:

  • CAPuttPutt

    @Kathy P Yes, his Dr's have been great about acknowledging the fact that there is something setting off his allergies even though he tests negative. We love Nemours Children's Hospital! No, he's using Flonase at the moment as a nasal spray.

    Thank you for that map! We are in the red zone for sure near the FL/GA line, and here the last few days it's been raining off and on (April showers..).

    He missed school yesterday – he was up Monday night coughing so we started the nebulizer again and continued it all day Tuesday. He had a croupy spell during the day but thankfully was able to rest last night. He's back at school today, much to his objections   lol He's still coughing, and it's apparent that he's caught a cold, as he has a stuffy nose and congestion, but no fever. Hoping we caught things in time to prevent this from triggering his asthma…..in the past, anytime he'd catch a cold, he'd end up coughing until he puked and triggering his asthma, which 99% of the time landed us in the ER during the middle of the night. 

  • Kathy P

    Ugh on catching a cold on top of things! Did the doc also give you a sick plan? My doctor has me do what he calls the "full court press" as soon as I get a virus….whether I think I need it or not. It's to try to get ahead of things. 

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs … it's really frustrating when life throws you a curve ball. As Lisa said, when my asthma gets flared, it seems like my lungs are super twitchy and will react even to things that don't normally trigger my asthma.

    Could you track weather patterns as well? Not just sudden changes in temp (at this time of year, Florida and Georgia are known for whiplash weather) … but also changes in barometric pressure and humidity. For me, sudden changes in pressure or humidity can trigger my asthma.

    As you're tracking things, are you seeing his asthma more in a certain location or a certain time of day? 

    We're here for you … you aren't alone as you work to figure this out. 

  • CAPuttPutt

    Hi @Kathy P Yes, we're still doing our 'sick plan' until he's over the cold – nebulizer every 4 hours and we've added an oral steroid now as well. Trying to nip it in the bud if you will. He's coughing lets up during the day some, but then he'll start coughing until he either gags and/or pukes. 

    @K8sMom2002 I've been noting things like temperature, humidity, whether or not a front is moving through, etc. Right now, I'm not seeing a pattern definitively. There's been some correlation with the fronts/weather changes but nothing that I can for certain link – and then other episodes have nothing that would've seemed to cause them to start.  But I'm going to continue noting as much as I can for the Dr & myself to try and figure out a pattern

    Thank you ladies!  

  • K8sMom2002

    Hugs on the coughing spells … that sounds pretty miserable.

    I know that happens to me when I have severe post nasal drip. I have a pronounced gag reflex, and severe coughing and post nasal drip will trigger it. My doc has added a decongestant to my sick plan to help me during times like this and has urged me to drink plenty of fluids to keep any post nasal drip manageable.

    It sounds like you are on top of everything and doing a great job of logging things and being a detective. That always makes it so frustrating when the answer just doesn't pop up clearly.