February Case Study
My three year old daughter, Emma, was diagnosed with asthma eighteen months ago after a visit to our GP. Last month Emma began to wake coughing at night. I gave her a reliever inhaler every second day, however she kept coughing and as a result she became pale and tired during the day. I was reluctant to give her the inhaler more often as I thought it would be bad for her.
A few weeks later Emma's crèche teacher told me that she had noticed Emma was wheezy when she was running around in the garden with the other children. She suggested that I should call the Asthma Society Adviceline .
When I got home I called the Adviceline and spoke to an Asthma Specialist Nurse. She listened patiently when I told her about Emma's symptoms and then she asked me lots of questions about Emma's family history, allergies and medication. I told her that Emma's father had asthma as a child, she seems to be allergic to dust and that cold air seems to trigger her asthma. I also told her that Emma had been on a preventer inhaler (Beclomethasone) for six months and that I administered her reliever inhaler (Salbutamol) every second day.
After speaking to the Asthma Nurse I realised that when Emma needs her reliever medication more than twice a week this was a sign that Emma's asthma was not under control. The Asthma Nurse asked if Emma had a blocked or runny nose, which she did, as this might be contributing to her poor asthma control.
I told her I was worried that Emma wouldn't be able to run around with her little friends in crèche, however the Asthma Nurse reassured me that once Emma's asthma was under control she would be able to play and run just like the other children.
The Nurse advised me to bring Emma to her GP for a review of her medication. She told me not to be scared to give Emma her reliever inhaler if she really needed it, but that it is really important to give her the preventer inhaler regularly.
She gave me some tips on how to tackle Emma's allergies and manage her asthma triggers. She also told me that I could watch videos showing how to give a child their asthma medication with a spacer or inhaler and download information on allergies and small children with asthma on the Asthma Society website.
I'm really glad I rang the Asthma Adviceline as I had no idea what a difference a few small changes could make to Emma's health. Our GP changed the doses of Emma's medication and now she's sleeping through the night and has much more energy. I found the videos on www.asthmasociety.ie really helpful as it's very reassuring as a parent to know that your child is getting the right medication when she needs it.
I would like to thank the Asthma Nurse for her patience, understanding and invaluable advice. I hope that Emma will continue to be a happy healthy girl but it is comforting to know that I can call the Adviceline if her asthma ever gets out of control again.
Note: Names have been changed for this case study; photograph featured is of an actor.