With two ten year olds with asthma we "know the drill" so-to-speak. These are a few things this asthma mom wants people to know.
We don't want to be excluded.
I have found over the years that many parents are uncomfortable dealing with children that have asthma at birthday parties or playdates. I totally understand that and most of the time I am not comfortable with other parents being in charge of my child's medications anyway. That being said, I am always open to staying at parties or playdates to lend a helping hand and keep track of my kids' breathing.
We appreciate a heads up.
The best thing you can do for a child with asthma is make sure not to schedule play dates when you know your own child is sick without at least discussing it with us first. We don't want to be excluded but we also don't want to put our kids at risk. If your child has been sick, especially with things that are dangerous to kids with asthma - like the flu - within the last 48 hours please let us know.
We don't need the amount of time that our kids are sick pointed out to us.
The phrase "your kids are sick all the time" is annoying. I think it most frequently comes from a place of wanting to sympathize with us but it is sometimes used when people are frustrated with us missing events. The latter is just as frustrating for us - believe me
Pointing out how often my kids are sick is only a reminder of everything they have to miss out on. Besides, I know exactly how often they are sick because I am the one home taking care of them while they huff and puff. It isn't that my kids get sick that much more, it is that they stay sick longer. I'd much prefer people just say "we are so happy to see you today" instead.
We don't need unsolicited medical advice.
Boy do we get this a lot. I am sure it is because people want to help but let me reassure you - most people whose children have asthma have a pediatrician, allergist and pulmonologist. We get plenty of "doctoring." It also puts us in a position of offending people when we don't take their advice. So, let's make a deal, we will ask you if we want any advice outside of our children's medical team.
A little consideration is a Godsend.
There are so many people who have blessed us with just a little consideration for our girls' needs as asthmatics. Sometimes it is as simple as making sure not to burn scented candles when we are visiting or calling ahead to make sure that any food allergy triggers will be easily avoided. I have had a few friends go as far as providing alternative treats for my asthmatic with food allergies or moving outdoor playdates inside when the pollen is high. Learning about asthma and it's triggers means a lot to those of us with asthmatic children.
Our kids can do just about anything with a few tweaks here and there.
We may not be quite as flexible in the choices of things we can participate in but we have been able to find tons of things to do that keep our girls active without triggering their asthma. If you have any questions as to what our girls can participate in just ask. We'll be more than happy to help plan something fun that safely includes everyone without singling out our asthmatics.
Do you have children with asthma? What do you want people to know? Post it here in the comments or share your own story on the HealthCentral site.
Jennifer has a bachelor's degree in dietetics as well as graduate work in public health and nutrition.She has worked with families dealing with digestive disease, asthma and food allergies for the past 12 years.Jennifer also serves the Board of Directors for Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association (PAGER).
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