Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hong Kong Asthma, Allergy and Sensitive Airways

I just returned from taking Madoc to see Dr. Adrian Wu, a Hong Kong specialist in asthma and immunology. I have been in such need of more information, that the visit was extremely productive and I am so grateful to him for the information he provided. I asked him as many questions as I could - but of course I now have hundreds more. Following is what we found - I hope this information also helps other parents with children who suffer from "reactive airways" and asthma.

1) Children who catch RSV before the age of 2 and have a wheez at the same time (Madoc did) have a 10-fold chance (he couldn't give me actual numbers) of developing Asthma. I must research this more...

2) Children who have excema have a very high chance of developing Asthma (Madoc did not). If Madoc had this and RSV and dust mite allergy, Asthma would have been a sure thing.

3) If you combine an allergy to dust mites (specific only to this allergen) to either of the above, the child has a significantly increased risk of developing asthma unless this allergen is managed. (And yes, we found out today that Madoc has a significant reaction to dust mites. And yes, dust mites are a MAJOR problem in Hong Kong because they thrive in humid conditions). The good news is that there are now studies that show that if you start your kids on allergy shots at the age of 5 to build immunity to dust mites, there is a significant decrease in asthma cases.

I asked the doctor about the inhalers. Are they habit forming. Am I giving her the right dose. Etc. And he said that the latest research indicates that it's best to only give steroid inhalers as needed -- not as a preventative. He also said there is a new trend in creating inhalers with both steroids and Ventolin that you use until the cough stops.

I asked him if there was any way to build her immunity. He said it has been proven that Vitamin D absorption has been proven significant in fighting Asthma. The latest study he read links the significant increase of Asthma cases in Australia, to the fact they smother themselves and children in sunscreen, thus blocking vitamin D absorption. The study tested loads of kids and found the majority were Vitamin D deficient. Definitely worth looking into ....

So the good news is that Madoc does not actually have an allergy to dairy. Or soy. Or gluten. Or cats. (Poor thing hasn't had any dairy in 6 weeks!) But she does seem to be developing a fierce allergy to dust mites. But the good news is dust mites can be controlled pretty well (at least at home). Bad news - airplane rides are about the worst thing we can do her. The re-circulated air, the dust and dirt, and germs, the dry air -- are all a recipe for disaster. He recommended she wear a cotton mask, to help keep moisture in, germs and dust out. Hmmm, we'll see how that goes over on 24 hour plane ride.

I asked him if living in Hong Kong was aggravating the problem - as the air is so polluted. He said that from an allergy perspective, that unless you live in Denver (SERIOUSLY!), there are always going to be allergens around. He said Denver doesn't have dust mites, which makes it ideal for Madoc. (Note, he didn't say the air pollution didn't matter, he just thinks there are a lot of variables that go into this)

So good news/bad news. But at least I have more information. And at least Madoc can now eat Macaroni and Cheese and Pizza - she is so excited!


Chase's birthday - okay, so I learned this year NOT to have Chase's party until after her birthday. Because if you have a birthday party the day before, the actual day pales in comparison. Note to self. Also need to note that even if Chase says she doesn't know what she wants and oh that she wants a fireplace, she doesn't really want a fireplace (which I actually bought for her) - no, she wants a fairy, something she has never, ever told me she wants. And she actually cried (how bad do I feel?) on her birthday when she unwrapped her present and saw she had an electric fireplace.

Also had the first *known* lying incident today. And it was terribly traumatic. Chase told me she did not have a candy after lunch (they are allowed 1 sweet every day after lunch/school). Jojo, our helper, told me she did. So I asked her, "Chase, Jojo tells me you did have a sweet after lunch. Did you?" And her lip started to quiver and her face became red, and she started blinking back tears. And so I said, "Chase, I need you to look me in the eye and tell me you are sorry for not telling the truth." And then she totally lost it, broke down and sobbed for 15 minutes (inconsolable). And then she looked me in the eye and said just that. And then I asked her, "please, can you always tell me the truth?" and she said Yes. She was so distraught that I ended up giving her another piece of candy for "telling me the truth even though it was hard to do." Because I didn't expect it would devastate her so to be caught in the act. And she really is an amazing little girl and always (bless!) does everything right. Always. And ultimately I just want her to know that I really don't want her to lie - that it is wrong - but that I know she feels terrible and not to do it again. And, above all, I love her always and forever, no matter what. And that I still love her, exactly the same, even though she made a mistake.

Madoc - I've given her one week break on doctor appointments (bless her!) but tomorrow we are going to see Hong Kong's allergist/immunologist for allergy testing. Poor dear. I told her we were going this afternoon and she said, "noooooo~!" and then said "is he going to cut my foot in half? And then put a plaster on it? I don't like plasters." To which I said, "No." But I didn't tell her that she will either have blood drawn or get a skin prick test. NOT LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW. But at least I will know more than I know today about her allergies and triggers. And I can only hope that she doesn't remember it. And for the record, Ms. Madoc, when you read this years from now and think I don't care - I do! Absolutely, completely and more than you'll ever know. I know this sucks, but I am doing this FOR YOU. So we can know more about your body, what triggers you, so we can stay as far away as possible from it.

In other, better brighter news - Madoc seems to (knock wood VERY HARD) gotten over her sock issue. And is getting WAY better with her clothes (after 5 months of wearing only three things!) And Madoc has decided she is going to be dentist. Possibly because her dentist visits have been WAY better than her doctor visits.

And here is my proud Mama moment. I went to Chase's student/teacher 15 minute non-informative conference today and saw this! Which I thought was spectacular! She just turned 6 and is still in "kindergarten." She was given the number "20" and asked to come up with different ways to make 20 - and this is what she came up with ....