As Maria Elena A. can tell you, having asthma and allergies all your life doesn’t necessarily prepare you for when your child has them, too. “I don’t ever remember not having asthma and allergies,” she says. “So it wasn’t surprising when one of my sons showed symptoms of having both conditions, too. I had a feeling that my genetic make-up was going to pass along more than just curly hair to my kids.”
Seeing her young son continue to wheeze long after a common cold that should have been over was just the push Maria Elena needed to undertake a crash course in asthma and allergies. “I certainly started reading up on it when my son appeared to have asthma and allergies, too.” A key thing she learned during her self-education quest: find an allergist.
“Our family’s pediatric allergist was the main source of our allergy and asthma education,” Maria Elena says. “He taught us how allergies fall into different categories: food, environmental, and topical or skin allergies. We created an Asthma Action Plan. He told me to monitor my son’s colds vigilantly, and how to be prepared if a cold lasted longer than about a week.”
As a result, her son’s health is “so much better than mine ever was at his age, because we educated ourselves. He plays soccer out among the grass that once made him sneeze, and he thrives on the city swim team, which he joined when he was 10.” However, the family has had to make some adjustments. For example, they’ve always known they would never have a family dog or cat because Maria Elena is allergic to them. “Although, my sons have tried to vote me out! They joked, ‘Let s get rid of Mom so we can have a dog!'”
Maria Elena and her son have taken their asthma education one step further, by educating his first-grade class about inhalers, nebulizers, and all those gadgets that are a part of allergies and asthma. She recommends that other families educate teachers, coaches, and anyone else who watches over the child, too. It helps him so much to know that the people around him know what to do in an emergency.
This patient successfully found relief after seeing an allergist, but the patient’s photograph is not available to respect the patient’s privacy and identity.