person inserting vhs and pressing the rewind button

What I Wish I Would Have Known When My Kids Were Diagnosed

Oh, how I would love to rewind the last 20 years of my life. Not that I want to have babies again or spend my time driving kids to preschool/swim lessons/soccer games/dance recitals/band concerts, etc. But I would like a do-over with asthma!

Exactly 20 years ago this week, our family's life was changed forever when my middle son was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with asthma. He was only 5 and was one sick kid.

Shortly after that, I found out I had asthma all my life. Eventually, all 3 of my kids would end up with an asthma diagnosis. I had NO idea what I was doing back then. I trusted the doctors and thought they knew best.

First, trust your instincts

This is the most important thing I wish I would have known back then: listen to my gut. If I felt something was wrong with my child to go back - again and again. After my son was diagnosed, my pediatrician said, "I always listen to the mothers of kids with asthma and diabetes - because they are so in tune with their kid's symptoms and numbers."

After that, I didn't hesitate to go back to the doctor's office (or call them), or take my child to urgent care or the ER. I can remember taking my young daughter to an after-hours clinic early one evening, and they diagnosed her with strep throat and prescribed an antibiotic. It didn't make sense; I felt they missed something. As I carefully watched her, I was still concerned about her breathing and coughing. Later that same night, I bundled her up and headed to the ER. I just KNEW something was wrong. They diagnosed her with pneumonia, and she spent 3 days in pediatrics.

I could tell you countless stories of pestering the pediatrician or asthma specialist because "something wasn't right" with my kids. And sure enough, they would be diagnosed with pneumonia or RSV, low oxygen levels, and need to be admitted.

Trust your instinct - you know your child. You know when something is wrong.

Other things I wish I would have known about asthma

When to go to the ER

Having an Asthma Action Plan helps, because my doctor would TELL me when to go to the ER. But for those of you who don't have an Asthma Action Plan, here are some tips.

Which inhaler?

There are a variety of inhalers on the market. Why do I have to take it every day? Which one do I take every day? Which one do I take when I have an asthma attack? I wish I would have known more about types of asthma inhalers back then.

How does my house affect my asthma?

Doesn't taking a puff of your inhaler fix everything? I mean, your apartment or house can't really affect asthma, can it? Yep, it can! I learned a lot about environmental triggers.

All about nebulizers

It's my best friend when my kids or I are sick! The pediatrician prescribed one for us years ago and said it would save us many trips to after-hours clinics and the ER for breathing treatments - and he was right. We have a newer (and much smaller) nebulizer and it travels with us. John wrote a great post about how nebulizers work.

What do you wish you would have known about asthma?

I could go on and on about what I wish I knew about asthma 20 years ago - but what about you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Asthma.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.