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Old 05-16-2012, 08:05 PM   #1
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Allergies and Asthma?

My 2.5 year old DS has eczema on the backs of his arms and constant cold symptoms. Last summer we were instructed to start giving him Claritin once a day to help with what seemed to be allergies. Allergies and sinus troubles have plagued my DH's family, so it did not surprise me.

Because I don't like keeping my kids medicated, I stopped giving him the Claritin on a regular basis if he wasn't having symptoms. I have not started him back on the Claritin yet this Spring, and he's back to having colds regularly, but what concerns me is that he's been wheezing occasionally, too. It seems to be worse at night, if he's been playing outside, or if he's been running inside or outside or crying hard. He's at a higher risk for developing asthma because of his NICU days when he was born. (He had an infection in his lungs and we were told the oxygen he needed could increase his risk of developing asthma later.) I was tested for asthma about 10 years ago, and I was told that I had "a little bit of asthma, but not enough to need medication."

Does that sound like the obvious, that he has developed asthma, or am I just trying to make something more than it is?

My 7.5 month old DD has also started sounding wheezy/barky (not coughing, just when she breathes), at night and sometimes during the day. Is she too young to have asthma? She, too, has the eczema and she cannot tolerate my milk when I've eaten lots of dairy products. I switched to almond milk, and she seemed to be doing better, but she still has days when she doesn't seem to want to nurse. She tries and gets upset after a few gulps. I've thought that food allergies and environmental (?) allergies do not necessarily happen together, but I'm not sure if I should take them both in to the pediatrician and make myself sound like a fool worrying about nothing, or if there really could be something to the symptoms they've been having.

We rent a townhouse that I'm sure is quite heavily populated with mold/mildew. Our landlord just recently had to clean some off part of our boys' ceiling, and our bathtub has had leaking issues in the past, so I'm sure the flooring boards in the bathroom are littered with gunk causing even my DH's allergies to flare up.

If you got to the end of this, you are awesome. I appreciate any experiences/input!

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Old 05-16-2012, 09:16 PM   #2
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Re: Allergies and Asthma?

For starters, people with asthma seem to always have allergies to some degree. I have certainly never known anyone to have just asthma. So, certainly a possibility that he has both.

Secondly, Claritin is designed to be an every day medication. It needs to build up in the body before it does any good. Now, it is possible to only use it during allergy season, but you'll need to start it a couple weeks before allergy season starts for it to be effective.

If you don't want to do medication, take what steps you can to reduce allergens in your home, try feeding him local honey every day, boost his immune system, and look into homeopathetic routes. I know there is quercetin for allergies, but I do not know what age you can start using it at. It works best when used in conjunction with something else, but I don't remember what.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:20 PM   #3
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Re: Allergies and Asthma?

Oh, and as for your DD, yes, infants can have asthma. Food alleegies and environmental allergies do not go hand in hand -- certainly possible to have one and not the other. My brother, sister, and I all have environ,ental allergies, but so far as we know, I am the only one with food allergies.

If you are having any dairy at all, I would look into cutting it out. I know you said you switched to almond milk, but what about cheeses or other dairy? It could be she's allergic or sensitive to something else, too. Try keeping a food diary on yourself and when she acts fussy or doesn't want to est, see what you ate within the last 24 hours that she might be reacting to.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:39 PM   #4
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Re: Allergies and Asthma?

I agree with the pp. Almost everyone I know with asthma has some form of environmental allergies or at least sensitivity towards allergens. My son has had mild asthma since he was quite young. He had infant excema and has had sensitivities to different exposures his whole life. I know you said you don't like to medicate constantly, but as for asthma, you need to think about the overall developmental health of the lungs. My son is on a daily dose of Singulair (wich is a daily medication technically for allergies that also keeps control of asthma), to keep his mild asthma under control. It is worse for his lungs to "struggle" (even mildly) on a regular basis than any risk a daily medication would cause. The lungs need to develop properly over time to maintain apropriate strength and muscle control as an adult. We have seen an allergy/asthma specialist several times over a few years, and I think it is worth a trip to see one even if only to ask questions and have a preliminary exam. We also have a nebulizer (a machine that aspirates medication to inhale), and give him treatments of albuteral (the same medication in inhalers) when needed. It may sound intimidating, but all easy to get a handle of. My son's symptoms are not extreme, but he is much happier and healthier when we treat his symptoms. His immune is sensitive to his asthma and he is more prone to certain illnesses/symptoms when we don't treat his overall health, so I recomend getting a "check in" with a specialist. Good luck.
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Old 05-16-2012, 10:22 PM   #5
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Your son definitely has asthma, probably your daughter as well. I have it and lots of things bring it on. Environmental stuff, running/physical exertion, laughing too hard, coughing too hard, colds, and alcohol consumption (so yes, can be food related asthma ). Every wheezing episode is scarring his lungs. It's uncomfortable and a little scary when you can't get air and I would really urge you to get him on a steroid treatment to control the underlying inflammation, or at least an emergency inhaler for the wheezing. Take them in tomorrow!
Asthma is worse at night for me because the postnasal drip irritates my throat and lungs.

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Old 05-16-2012, 10:23 PM   #6
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Re: Allergies and Asthma?

DFS has asthma and allergies. I would call your ped. If your LO has asthma, and it is uncontrolled to the point of wheezing, there is a possibility you are doing lung damage.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:00 PM   #7
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Re: Allergies and Asthma?

Oh goodness! Thank you so much for your help! I feel like I'm always thinking something is going on then it's "just a virus," and we go home to wait it out. He almost died when he was so sick, then had bronchiolitis shortly after coming home (we still have his nebulizer), so this all makes me so sad. I don't want his lungs to be scarred because I didn't want to come across as a worry wart at the Peds office. I'm calling tomorrow and taking them both in! My son didn't show any asthma at his last chest X-ray when he was a few months old, but I'm guessing that it's changed. Thank you. I do feel awful now that I've waited so long to do something about it. My poor sweet boy...
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Old 05-17-2012, 05:50 AM   #8
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Re: Allergies and Asthma?

Asthma and allergies seem to come together unfortunately. I've had asthma since I was three, have cat allergies (mild) and during spring when the pollen count is high.

I can tell you though, cutting dairy helps A LOT. Processed, pasteurized, homogenized...which is majority of the dairy out there. Other things that may trigger for the body to produce a lot of phlegm like orange juice and citrus should probably be avoided. I was wondering why I had a lot of mucus with certain foods until my acupuncturist told me it's a sign of intolerance. I rarely drink OJ nowadays and very rare I'll touch dairy. Used to also go through a box of tissue each month up until 30 or so. Then after quitting dairy, I won't even go through a box within few months.

Now there's also a recent study that show kids that are exposed to outdoors especially away from urban environment develop better resistance to allergies with nature's way of putting certain microbes (or whatever they call it). Kids that grow up in urban environment tend to develop more allergies and are sensitive so for young children at least, it's good for them to be outside as often as possible. Just a thought
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