Asthma/Anaphalaxis Symptoms to close to tell

Posted on: Mon, 09/06/2004 - 12:48pm
domesticgodess's picture
Joined: 08/26/2003 - 09:00

Okay, No I am not new to this.Have been doing the whole pa/tna thing for 9 years. Here's the thing:
Bryson has had a classic anaphalactic shock reaction to peanuts 1 time. Now that school is starting tommorrow I keep having this thought pop into my head: When this reaction was happening it was so close to his severe asthma attacks how would I know or anyone else know the difference?
I am certainly not convinced I would know! Reason I am having these thoughts is b/c 2 weeks ago while at a family members house we went on a hay ride and Bryson puffed up his whole face his lips everything.He started to wheeze,glazed eyes,grey skin the whole 9 yards I knew he didn't have anything to eat he was not supposed to but you never know what kids eat while their parents aren't looking.(Have never had Bryson eat anything without my permission ever)but again you never know.
So,how would I know? Even our pa action plan is to close to asthma which he of course has too!

Posted on: Mon, 09/06/2004 - 12:53pm
smartalyk's picture
Joined: 07/20/2004 - 09:00

Hi there,
I think maybe you should ask your doctor for the difference in symptoms. Perhaps he/she can best describe it?
My son has asthma, but has [i]never[/i] had an asthma attack, if that makes sense. His asthma is cough variant asthma and is directly related to his environmental allergies. He has had some bad episodes of continuous coughing but never to the point of choking off his breathing. Sorry I can't help you more.
I definitely can recognize an anaphylactic reaction. But the symptoms you described, I would think that was anaphylactic! What does your doctor think?
Good luck. All the best,

Posted on: Mon, 09/06/2004 - 1:29pm
domesticgodess's picture
Joined: 08/26/2003 - 09:00

That's just the thibg it wan't a reaction to anyhthing! It was an asthma attack solved by simple ventolin. He has every type of asthma there is catogorized as severe.Does not matter what steroid he is on what allergies are bothering him or not bothering him he will have an attack. he is allergic to anything god made.To stop the attacks I would need a bubble world for him to live in.
It is the doctor who makes up the action plan for both his asthma and his pa/tna and I read last years and there symtoms are the same.Exactly.I would be able to tell if were home b/c ventolin gives pretty quick results.It wouldn't if it were anreaction.
H e has never had a reaction at the school but has had an attack of asthma. The school is allowed to give him 2 puffs in the morning or in the afternoon if he requires more they are to call home for me to pick him up.I imagine if he were to either have a bad asthma attack or reaction to anything they would call immediately.
I will definelty be making an appointment.

Posted on: Mon, 09/06/2004 - 1:55pm
momma2boys's picture
Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

About 2 or 3 years ago, before we were better educated about PA, my son had an episode where he was having serious breathing diff. I rushed him to the ER where his pulse ox. level was 88. They couldnt get it to go up. Finally they gave him racemic epinephrine. He got much better.
After we switched allergists, I asked him if that could've been an allergic reaction. His response was "yes, but whatever it was, you should've used the Epi anyways, it would've helped his breathing instantly."
I don't know if this will help you at all, but if they use the Epi it will help, not hurt. How often does he have these serious attacks? If they are not often, you may want to be safe and have them use the Epi if they are unsure.

Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2004 - 9:22am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

I hear you Jenna, especially since my PA son's last two reactions were very atypical for him. No hives at all, but his voice got very high and squeaky (think Mickey Mouse on helium), said his throat was squeezing, and then he started wheezing. Much more like an asthma attack than a reaction, but they were definitely reactions.
The truth is that for a severe asthma attack, the treatment is basically the same (although for a reaction we would also give Benadryl). Nevertheless, it is unnerving.

Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2004 - 10:33am
DebO's picture
Joined: 03/15/1999 - 09:00

When I was little, ventolin didn't exist. Many times the treatment I received for my severe asthma included an injection of adrenaline (also known as epinephrine, which is, of course what is in the epipen).
In my experience with my own asthma and my son's severe asthma, there is no way a severe attack will be resolved with just two puffs of ventolin. If my son has an asthma attack that is that severe I would expect him to be sent to emergency where the proper protocol can be followed - at our hospital that is ventolin together with observations and proceeding to prednisone if necessary. There is no way I would want the school to deal with a severe attack - it is a risk for him and unfair to the school, in my opinion. The teachers and principals should be teaching children and not observing my child to see if he is getting better or worse. I would far rather have that done by nurses at a hospital.
Since administering the epipen will not do any harm and will help asthma anyway, at my school they are told to err on the side of caution. If there is any possibility it may be a reaction, administer the epipen and send the child to the ER. In the case of an asthma episode, administer his ventolin and still send him to the ER. If it turns out to be a reaction, my child will be in the right place to receive the proper treatment.
I admit I will try ventolin and observe if it is me at home, but at school I don't want a teacher or principal to make that judgement call since they are not as familiar with my child as I am.
take care
As an aside, if your child is having frequent episodes then their asthma is not controlled. It took several years to find the correct medicine but now my son has not had a severe episode in 2 years and I have not had one in 5 years. If your doctor does not have the knowledge/experience to control the asthma I would be asking for a referral to a respirologist.
good luck!
[This message has been edited by DebO (edited September 07, 2004).]

Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2004 - 12:20pm
domesticgodess's picture
Joined: 08/26/2003 - 09:00

Okay,as I am reading I observe that everyone else is more observant than I am.
I always think of these things once someone else has posted it. The epi-pen is prescribed for both the asthma and the pa/tna.I also never give the whole thought process for some reason. My brain focuses on one problem and next to none of the obvious solution.
No is asthma is not controlled. hasn't been for quite some time now. It is frequently severe with hospital stays.I ahve done everything my respirologist has told me too.And then some.I do have an exellent family doctor who discovered that he alone couldn't control my sons asthma and sent us refferal and all years ago.6 to be exact. My son is 9.
I do not expect my school and the teachers to be reading him for every sign and symptom,they do call when things are suspect immediately.They are very good. It is not just them I woory about b/c they are more likely to call for an ambulance faster than I would.They in fact took it upon themselves to registar him with the ambulance directly with the specs of his needs.
With the attack I mentioned that happened 2 weeks ago the ventolin with 2 puffs as first dose did not solve the problem immediately but did bring immidiate relief.
It was just so close to the raection he had at camp that I was scared,it has been along time since I have been scared of an asthma attack of his. His asthma has also never come on that fast and hard before. It usually takes 3-4 days to get that bas and by then I have already started the prednisone.This summer has been a real weird summer as far as weather goes and the weather really seems to coincide with his attacks.
His pa symtoms really pose as asthma and I wondered if he is the only one? There has to be some other way od differenciating the 2 or can they really be that closley related? I guess anyting is possible.
One thing I will be double checking is the epi-pen usage directions b/c I do not think it is listed as one of the in emergancy things to do as far as the asthma. I had forgotten that I could use it for asthma to be honest.Sounds bad I know but I truelly am so close to a hospital and ambulance bays that I take them for granted.
That's an eye opener considering. Thanks for the reminders gals!

Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2004 - 12:37pm
MQriley2's picture
Joined: 05/25/2004 - 09:00

Funny you should ask this because I just asked the doctor, for the 100th time, the same question.
My FA DS had to go to the doc today for non stop coughing that has been going on for a few days now. But, it started out with red blood shot eyes (FA symptom), stomach ache, pale face. Of course, the life threatening part is not gonna last this long, but it could be the thing to cause the asthma exacerbation.
A year 1/2 ago we had three episodes, all late in the night, where we had to call 911. DS couldn't breathe was looking blue, neb. wasn't helping. Ambulance got there and said I hear no wheezing, must be croup. Forgot to mention that he gets croupy with stridor when he has asthma probs.
I was not fully educated about the ana. reactions with the food or when to use the epi, thanks to a lovely allergist. We got to the hospital and they did xrays of his throat to prove that it wasn't croup. Couldn't hear asthma wheezing cause the stridor was too loud, so the E.R. doc says asthma attack. This happened three different times, this severe.
After we hashed out the incidents and the things happening in the days of the incidents, we noticed that they were either around holidays (parties at school) or they had something in the classroom (before we went PA free). Looking back, the allergist says we should have used the epi. He, of course, almost cried because he realized that saying "stay away from the nuts" wasn't what he should have said and it could have killed my son.
I have also been told by the pulmonologist that asthma and severe food allergies is a toss up and very hard to distinguish. He said to use epi first. It shouldn't hurt and then asthma meds until getting to the E.R. The food reaction could be asthma exacerbation and in my son it is. I had no reason at the time to consider this being food reactions. It was usually an hour or two after bed. There were signs a lot of coughing..sounding a little croupy..before getting into bed, but how in the heck do you know it isn't just asthma or croup and not food. Days later we knew it wasn't croup because it lasted a long time and during the day as well. He also said these would be considered bi-phasic reactions. He had mild ones when he came home from school and within four to six hours had a severe one after bed.
I am not completely convinced what I will do when it happens again because it is SO confusing. Right now he is back on what if he gets that way five days from now. Is it food or asthma attack? I can use the epi, but gosh..I would feel so bad if it didn't work and feel worse if I should have used it. I should also mention that in each of these incidents, his pulse ox was normal..98 to 99. He looked like he was dying and turning blue. After three hours in the hospital, without epi., he worked his way through it.
It took a week for him to recoup, but months for the wheezing to go away.
Sorry so long, but I am just as unsure and I feel the same about the school issue because I can't give them a straight answer to the question. My doc said to use the epi. ugh!!
Renee asthma/EnA
Quinton: PA/TNA/Soy/EnA/Severe Asthma/whole egg/onion/cocoa bean/chicken/turkey/string beans/potato
Mykiaja: EnA/asthma
Taylor: EnA/asthma

Posted on: Tue, 09/07/2004 - 1:17pm
DebO's picture
Joined: 03/15/1999 - 09:00

Hi again
Yes, here in Ottawa at least, this has been a particularly poor month for my asthma, which is very unusual. No attacks but I have felt "tight" often despite the advair!
My son's asthma did not get under control until he was placed on 250mg of Advair twice daily. Advair is a combination long term broncho dilator (serevent) and Steroid (flovent) and has made a huge difference for us. He is on a high dose, but we attempted to reduce him to 100 mg about 6 months ago and there was just no way.
How recent was your testing done? Could there be a new food allergy causing the problem? Try keeping an asthma diary to note when symptoms are worse - maybe you will identify a pattern. It is worth a try.
Good luck and take care

Posted on: Wed, 09/08/2004 - 2:39am
domesticgodess's picture
Joined: 08/26/2003 - 09:00

Well Debo we are in Ontario too and that explains alot of the asthma issues.
Bryson is on 500mg of advair 1 puff twice a day as well as singular and nasonex. Nothing works I have no idea why the doctor took him off the pulmicort b/c we ahve had more episodes since he did. He wanted to try something else for summer. We go to see him next week. He will be told then that he can keep his singulair and advair.This is the second time we have had this combo and it was worse this time.The doctor seems to thik it is something I am or am not doing right. I think he can get off my case b/c I would give both my healthy lungs to my son if I thought it would work.I don't get why he is getting worse instead of better?
My husband and I actually considered moving out of this province to go out west just to help him. My mom lived in Alberta for over 20 years with no problems and moved back here and flared right up and has been sick since comming back here.
Don't get it.If I never hear "OH,he might grow out of it!" it would be to soon!
I get awhole lot of stories and examples and such but I have been told already by several different doctors that it may ease up but will always be there.
I know thta if ehw ere to have a sudden fit at school they'd handle it.I would just like to know hat the difference between them are. WE cany flr a man to the the moon,have robots on mars but a lowly peanut is not figurable?

Posted on: Wed, 09/08/2004 - 3:59am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

People can have anaphylactic reactions to many things besides food. What happened to your son on the hay ride sounded like anaphylaxis.
I might suggest you try the epi because you'll lose too much time trying to differentiate between FA and asthma.
The wheezing is also part of the anaphylaxis so it is entirely possible you are seeing that and not "just" asthma.
I mean hay is a horrible allergen, it could have been the culprit.


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