Air Hurts

Asthma. Motherfucking asthma.

Ever wrestle a child to force him to breathe? Count Waffles the Terrible has asthma and he thinks his inhaler is a device made specifically to torture him. He’s had to breathe through the tube all of 4 times since last night and I can already see this will be our Waterloo. This will be our Battle of Gondor.
I started with the always helpful bribe: Candy? A happy meal? Toys?

No go.

I moved on to threats: No candy. No happy meal. No toys.

No go.

Then I pulled out the big guns: Your sister can stay next to you. She gets to play with you. I will not make her leave.

No go.

The Kaiser suggested suffocation until he was forced to inhale, but despite my large arms, I’m not sure I can pin the boy down, plug his nose, and keep the tube positioned so he breathes medication and not air. I can’t even pick the kids’ boogers anymore. I know, I know, it kills me too.

The good news is we haven’t had any attacks. Yet. But we’re really sick of the night time and now day time cough thing. All night. All day. All night. All day. All night. All day.

aheh. aheh. aheh. aheh.

All night. All day. All night. All day.

It’s enough to make you have more than one martini every night. Repetition is a killer.

So we’ve gone from a seasonal teaspoon of meds before bedtime, to a teaspoon all year round, to a teaspoon and a pill, to just a pill, to the new and improved pill and inhaler.

Fucking allergies. Fucking nature. Fucking man made pollution.

Down with trees!

Down with industry!

Down with inhalers!

I’m open to advice from any of you who may have children with asthma. We’ve got the humidifier. I’m all for logging our local oaks, but I think my neighbors might get upset. We’ve already got a Prius. I suppose we could move, but then I wouldn’t be able to buy him meds.
Am I going to have to rip all my carpet out and throw all the stuffed animals away? I am, aren’t I?

And is it legal to strap a kid down and plug his nose? Probably not.

Down with asthma.


  1. No, you don’t have to throw away the stuffed animals.

    But I would say yes to pulling out the carpet.

  2. I take it you do have the Aero Chamber Plus with a mask?

    This helped us a lot when my son needed to use an inhaler when he had pneumonia. He thought it was cool to see the little flap thingy (very technical term) go in and out as he breathed.

    I’d recommend vacuuming the stuffed animals but not getting rid of them.

  3. Humidifiers are FULL of mold. Ditch it. Get more plants in your home too – a nursery should be able to point you in the direction of plants that clean your home of toxins/allergens. There must be resources online to give you some great tips?

  4. Eeee gads. I am sorry.

    I was just thinking about this sort of thing – not the asthma, but the forcing medication – yesterday. It turns out that The Bug is a spitter, so I think that giving her medicine is going to turn out to be a problem when she’s sick.

    Made me think of one of my parenting books that I read, can’t remember which now. It’s written by a doctor and he said that when it’s medication, and it’s crucial to a child getting better, i.e. not just Tylenol for a low fever, more like Tylenol for a persistent high fever, or antibiotics for an infection, and I imagine that asthma medication falls on this list too… he says that you have to make the child understand that he HAS to take the medicine.

    If it comes to this, he says, you have to actually restrain the child on his back and keep giving him medicine until it stays down (of course, an inhaler is a whole new deal… not sure how you would make him breathe it in, and you’d have to have at least four hands to make this work, even if you sat on his legs). He said he had to do it with one of his own daughters and it was beyond horrible for both of them, but after his daughter finally swallowed the medicine they shared a huge hug and he wasn’t sure who was more relieved, her or him.

  5. We use the Aero Chamber too ( Our kids (age 4 and 2) love The Little Einsteins so we tell them its time for “Blast Off!” and they come running to use it. Also, letting them “help” press the inhaler down works as they love to do anything they are “doing themselves.”

    Do you have his mattress and pillows covered in allergen cases? Do you have air purifiers in your home? we have portable ones in each bedroom and in the playroom.

    We did put up the stuffed animals and don’t buy any more but the one that our son really “needs” I throw in the wash once a week.

    Shampoo your carpets with the allergen control shampoo. Works good for us. Also Febreze has an allergen control formula for your furniture.

  6. Let me start by saying I am not a Mom, so the advise I am going to give may not be Mom friendly. However, I am 26 years old and was diagnosed with asthmas at 6 weeks old. I’ve done the teaspoons of meds, the pills, the inhalers and pretty much everything in between. Here are some inbetweens you might try if it gets down and dirty and you’re beginning to worry that breathing might become optional. Give him some coffee. Yes, he’ll be a little crazy boy from the caffeine, but that along with the warmth of the drink has helped me in the past when I didn’t have my inhaler. Also, this is one that you might have to try and not write about – don’t want Moms on Parol to nab you. Jack Daniels. Jack Daniels mixed with honey to sweeten it a little…. yes, it works. Opens you right up. Tastes like all hell, but in a situation where he can’t breath and he won’t use his inhaler – tell him its a special drink and he’s breathing again. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how much to give him, obviously not alot – just a swallow. But, that’s what I was given when meds, machines and inhalers weren’t doing the trick. I also read, but haven’t tried it yet, that eatting brazil nuts will help to prevent attacks. Sometimes, boiling some water and putting a little mentholam in it and breathing in the steam has helped me as well. Prop him up at night with some pillows, that will help with the cough and make breathing easier. Run a fan if you need to – that helps me because it keeps the air circulating. I was on pill/liquid medications until I was older because the inhalers scared me, so unfortunately, I have no good advice on how to get him to use it. The best thing I can say is to check with your doctor and see if you can’t get him on a pill/liquid to help. I know there is both out there – I’ve used them. I didn’t use an inhaler until I was at least 10 or 11. They’re scary at 4, 5, 6 years old… I know, I was there. You don’t understand why you can’t breath, your parents are freaking, which freaks you out more, you don’t know HOW to use the inhaler, when to breath or what’s being squirted into your mouth because that’s what it feels like. Its a tough situation. I feel for him and for you. Again, I know that I’ll probably get some objections to what I’ve said… but, you know, when your lips are turning blue – you’ll try just about anything – and so will your parents.

  7. Now I’ve heard of giving babies whiskey when they’re teething, but hey, if it works! I don’t have any advice. My kids had ear infections, but not asthma. They used to get wicked colds though, and their little noses would be so stuffed full of snot they sounded like a rattle when they breathed. I would have to sit on them. Literally. Their legs under my thighs, their arms under my calves. Then both hands were free for me to hold down their face and suction them so they could breathe. I’m sure they’ll be in therapy as adults, trying to get over the trauma.

  8. I would get rid of the carpets. Hardwood (go for bamboo! it’s sustainable!) floors are easier to clean and easy on people with allergies. Get air purifiers as well. Humidfiers are baaaaaad. Also, when you vaccuum or sweep, do it right after your son goes to bed (close his door) or make sure he’s not in the room for a couple of hours because dust will rise up and circulate in the air for a while before settling again. You may want to consider getting a vacuum with a HEPA filter if you don’t already have one. When my stepmother visits, I have to vacuum my house two days before she visits otherwise she will have an allergy attack if I vacuum on the same day. Good luck!

  9. Down with breathing. Let’s all become fish.

  10. Do you have the mask or the tube? The mask gets hot and is quite annoying, but it’s easier to FORCE on them if you have to than the tube.
    I have adult onset asthma and 4 year old has it. If it makes you feel better, he will now do his “mask” himself, he sits and watches tv. He’ll even shake up the chamber to mix it up when it starts to crystallize.
    But yes, when he was about 3 we had to practically hold him down. You feel bad about spanking a kid over medication.
    But I’d feel worse if he wasn’t breathing…….
    But feel free to drop me a line about any questions…..I’m a pro.

  11. I have no experience with this, so I can’t offer any advice, but I do hope things get better.

    I’m sending good juju your way, okay?

  12. My son had asthma when he was little but it was mainly pills, steam inhalations. you could also try this–out a heating pad on his chest–helps to bring up some of the secretions at least.

  13. Well, finally something I feel qualified to advise you on!

    Four of my six kids are certified asthmatics, with another “reactive airways” in the mix. If they need the nebulizer, you’ve got to get it into them anyway you can. Trust me, skip the meds and you’ll be on a fast track to Emergency.

    What I’ve done that really works is a reverse of the above. I lay the kids between my legs wtih their head up near my crotch. Arms and legs go under my legs and then I’ve got both of my hands free to put the mask on and hold it.

    Honestly, a couple of my kids could NOT be bribed or cajoled or anything into taking their meds and it was just an act of force each and every time. It takes a while on non negotiation before they finally realize that this is it. Take heart, there is hope – my seven year old has been the worst and he now takes his nebulizer/inhalers like a champ.

    You can also give him something special to drink after – he should always drink to rinse his mouth, in order to avoid thrush. Maybe bribing him with the JD suggested above? Or maybe bribing yourself?

    Seal the mattress and pillows, wash the bedding in hot water weekly, vaccum the floors and curtains and dust as much as you can. No stuffed animals around, unless you wash them in hot water too. No humidifiers.

    Email if you have questions or want to talk. I can DEFINITELY comiserate!

  14. Oh man, this just sucks. I know because I WAS one of those kids with asthma. And an adult with asthma. It finally went away when I had kids.

    And back then there were no inhalers, just ephinephrine. Weeeee, kids on speed.

    CPA Mom had some good advice. Also check out and see if there are any “Kids with Asthma” groups near you. All you need is one chatty mom with lots of advice to get over the learning curve quick.

  15. Have you tried an air purifier in the house? Have you discussed with him what his fear is of the inhaler? Do you know or can you find any other children with asthma for him to talk with? Good luck!

  16. Hi, I just ran across your website. Love it. I have a 10 year old with exertion asthma. She didn’t like using the inhaler at first. Now she’s on Advair and Singulair. She only uses her inhaler on an as need basis. The combination of advair and singulair has dramatically reduced her asthma attacks. Check with your ped about those.

  17. My kiddo was diagnosed with “exercise induced” asthma (not sure if that is the same as Sassy’s exertion asthma); he’s 16 and I can’t hardly get him to use the stinkin’ inhaler. Good luck!

  18. They also have masks that look like animals. I had a client who used to have one that looked like an elephant.

    My son has a terrible cough right now (croup. ewww) so I can completely relate to he forcing of the breathing treatment. I just came down stairs from telling him “I know you want to go to Basketball practice on Wed, if you don’t do the puffer, then you won’t be able to go to basketball.”
    He puffed. Oy. Happy Birthdays to both of you!

  19. I had asthma as a kid. I don’t have any helpful advice for you, since I didn’t fight against taking my inhaler (although I HATED it – the medication tastes like burnt rubber), but you do have my sympathy!

  20. Hi there – Just popping over from Troll Baby’s site and read this post. I was diagnosed with asthma and allergies at 3 or so, and I clearly remember my mom ready to rip her hair out over my incessant, non-stop, coughing. I do have a recommendation, but some people are skeev-ish about it…acupuncture and Chinese herbs. It has saved me, and I have more auto-immune kinds of things going on than just asthma and allergies. It takes some diligence, but if it meant keeping my kid off steroids and the like? I’d do it. Good luck!

  21. Do you have a nebulizer? We can hook ours up in a way that as long as we get it near Hatchling’s face, he ends up inhaling some of the medicine. I’ve finally convinced him to blow into the mouthpiece like it is a whistle. If he blows out, he has to suck the medicine back in. Of course, the downside to this is when he wants to “play music” and I refuse to give him any medicine.


  1. Kathleen says:


    \”…These systems have benefits and drawbacks…\”…

  2. Roy says:


    …Those that have allergies or suffer from asthma can also see quite large benefits in this tool as well……

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