Status Asthmaticus

Please inform yourself if you are an asthmatic. One of my pediatric patients is now on a ventilator because her parents let her run out of her inhaler, and I’m just sick about it. They could have come to me and I would have provided them with her medication (even though it would have violated hospital policy), but they didn’t, and now she’s on a vent at Scottish Rite Hospital.

Get yourself a Peak Flowmeter know your settings, and use that damn thing every day! It’s a great tool for asthma or any COPD patient and you can get it w/o a scrip.

In all fairness to the parents, they are newly out of work, but I mean, damn! If you have a child that is prone to attacks, one of the first things you do is play the what if? game and provide for her!

Guess this might belong in the Pit, huh? Sorry. Please move it if necessary, thanks.


I was born with asthma. When I weas a kid I was in the ER at least once a month getting a shot. I had more allergy tests than I care to remember and I was never without an inhaler and pills. It sucked but it was just one of those things.

But I swear on a stack, even seeing my mother’s worry every time we made one of those trips to the hospital, I was damn near thirty before I knew people actually died from it. I guess because I was always being treated for regular allergies as well and no one ever explained it to me and the doctors always told my parents not to get into a big panic when I was having an attack because it would just upset me and make it worse.

When I became a parent, first sign of wheezing and we were at the doctor. My daughter, thank god, doesn’t have asthma. But my son does, though it is nowhere near as bad as mine was at his age. But I am rabid about inhalers and flowmeters at home and at school.

But I have a question now. When I was a kid, I know exactly one other kid that was asthmatic and that was my youngest brother. I was in high school before I met anyone else. When I started teaching preschool 12 years ago, I was shocked at the number of asthmatic kids at my preschool and five years ago when I was running my last daycare, we had no fewer than a dozen kids-seven of them under two-that had to be given breathing treatments daily and a few more than we had inhalers for just in case. Several of my friends’s kids are asthmatic.

There seems to be a huge increase in the number of kids with asthma these days. Why is that? Or am I just imagining this?

I love my Ventolin, my Flixotide and my peak flow meter. They help me stay healthy and not die.

It isn’t your imagination, Arden Ranger. Since 1996 there has been an increase from 15 to 17 million cases of asthma in Americans. This according to a survey by the American Lung Association. Of that number, 1/3 are kids under the age of 18.

We don’t know what causes it, other than allergens, tobacco smoke and in some cases heriditary factors. What we do know is that some people are born with the tendency to develop the disease. I applaud your use of the peak flowmeter in controlling it. We are developing better inhalers all the time (Advair is one we use in the hospital I work at, and it seems to work very well, though it contains a steroid, and is not indicated for use in some patients.)

I know this isn’t real good news, but I hope it helped answer your question. We use the peak flowmeter in our ER as an asthma education tool, and it seems to be working to at least help patients adjust their daily activities.