Terri is a newer blogger over at RN Perspective. She has been a pediatric nurse and wants to share her insight with new parents. She initially contacted me to share her awesome post about Why You Should Choose a Birth Center, and I invite you to go read it, as she is looking for feedback from people who have used a birth center instead of a hospital.
Terri also offered to write a pediatric piece applicable to the Spring/Summer season. I invite you to read it as I learned something new and hope you do as well.
The Pediatric Airway
As a pediatric RN, I’ve worked with newborns and adolescents. One of the most common problems I encounter among pediatrics regardless of the age group is an issue with breathing/reactive airway. The term reactive airway and asthma are often used interchangeable, but I’m here to tell you that they are not necessarily the same condition.
With reactive airway disease (RAD), there is not really a specific diagnosis, it’s a term used to describe symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath with an unknown cause. On the other hand, asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways, which causes attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. So as you can imagine, there are times when kids with asthma are mistakenly diagnosed with RAD and vice versa.
Though some people think there is only one main cause of asthma symptoms, there are actually two main causes: airway constriction and airway inflammation, when the airways of the lungs are swollen and irritated (click for a look inside your lungs)
So what should you do if your child is diagnosed with asthma?
My Advice: Be a partner with your healthcare provider is finding the right combinations of medications. Be informed and reinforce education about the diagnosis with your child. Emphasize with your child that this condition is treatable and once there medication is under control they can do the same things as other children. Believe it or not, participating in sporting activities will help strengthen the lungs, so don’t limit your child. Asthma is not a shameful disease so encourage your kids to share their condition with their friends. For instance, you can have your child tell his/her friend in order for me to breathe better I need to use my inhaler before we play sports. No one wants to stand out or be different so find ways to remove the stigma.
I’m a pediatric RN on a surgical floor so I’ve seen lots of interesting procedures. The best thing about my job is that I’m able to give sick children and their families hope. I’ve learned that the most important thing in caring for a child is listening to their parents. No one knows their child better than a parent, so when a parent tells me they notice a change in their child’s behavior that’s a huge clue. I’ve always known I wanted to work with children and I could not be happier with my career. Follow me at RN Perspective to learn more.
For additional reading on alternative treatments to discuss with your care provider, see here, here, and here. Course of treatment should be decided on specific to the individuals needs, as there is no one treatment for every child.