Teaching Asthma Self-Management

As a parent of 3 college-aged kids (who have battled allergies and asthma for 19 years), I sometimes wonder why I'm even here.

For those of you who are parents, you may feel the same way. Does anyone even pay attention when you talk? What about when you help them with medical problems? Or when you give advice based on your years of experience? (And they asked for your advice... you didn't just give it!)

My kids and I all have different asthma triggers and different medications to try to manage our asthma.

But, there are some asthma management basics that I taught my kids.

Asthma management lesson 1: Know your asthma

What works for my asthma doesn't work for my sons or daughter, and vice versa. So, I taught them that it's important to know their asthma. And to know the difference between a minor asthma attack and a big flare-up because they are sick (Like a nasty case of bronchitis or pneumonia).

Recently, Middle Son was sick with bronchitis and had a late-night visit to Urgent Care to get antibiotics and oral steroids. He was slowly getting better over the last month, but then seemed to get worse again. He told me his lungs "didn't feel right" and he had set an appointment to go back to his doctor. You could have knocked me over with a feather, I was so surprised!

A college-aged kid:

  1. realized something was wrong
  2. set a doctor's appointment

If you don't think that is a major feat, you don't have kids in college. This was a major step to adulting!

After the shock wore off, the pride set in. I had a small success as a parent! My son had listened to my advice over the years! Go figure!

Asthma management lesson 2: You start to get better, then suddenly get worse

Our doctor always told us to watch for this, because it could be a sign of a secondary infection.

An article on Everyday Health explained it this way:

"Feeling mildly sick, then better and then sick again could be a sign of a "superinfection" — a more serious secondary infection that results when your immune system is weakened from a mild illness. "It could be that the immune system got tired and another infection was able to come in," ... "Or the normal flora in your body that protected you from getting sick got thrown off a little and other bacteria came in. Or you were exposed to a second type of virus and got sick again." In any case, ... your doctor would probably like to see you to make sure there's nothing serious going on.1 "

An asthma management lesson for me: Trust that I did a good job teaching my kids

Sure enough, my son had another infection and needed another round of antibiotics (a different medication this time). My son said he was glad he went back into the doctor. Although he still needs breathing treatments, he said his lungs feel like they are finally getting better.

He knew his body. He knew something was wrong and he took care of it.

I'm still a little surprised by what my son did, but happy that he is adulting and taking charge of his health.

Have you had success teaching your kids to allergy and asthma management? Let me know what worked for you in the comments below!

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