The mom of a 9-month old wanted to show how difficult it is to know when an infant is having trouble breathing ...
If you have a child with asthma, or have asthma yourself, you appreciate just how frightening the sensation of struggling for air is. However, when small babies have asthma it’s doubly scary as the signs of an attack are slightly more difficult to diagnose, and to make matters worse, if not treated quickly, symptoms can get worse and sometimes result in death.
But it can be emotionally and physically exhausting rushing to hospital only to discover you’ve misdiagnosed and over-reacted. So when Sophie Cachia posted a video on Instagram of her 9-month-old having an asthma attack, we wanted to show other parents, families, and babysitters what to look out for when this common disease rears its oxygen-depriving head.
You’d be right in thinking: Why on earth did Cachia spend time videoing her baby instead of rushing her off to hospital? But this is exactly the issue of asthma in babies that Cachia is trying to highlight. She wasn’t actually sure her daughter, Florence, was having an attack. “I only took this video just before they left in case she got to the hospital and was breathing fine, I always prefer to have something to show them upon arrival,” she explained. (Please note that Cachia’s husband was with her at the time and preparing to take Florence to the hospital. If you are alone with your baby it is advised you head straight to the Emergency Room.)
We can understand this mom’s confusion. Little Florence still seemed bright-eyed and pretty healthy with those cute flushed cheeks. Had she clothes on you might not really have noticed her labored breathing, however, as Cacchia points out: “The sucking in under her throat and her ribs means she’s working really hard to breathe.”
It is really distressing watching her struggle to breathe and Cachia adds: “The look they give you when they’re scared is something that haunts me, as I try to do my best to keep it together as their mumma.” And keeping it together means acting decisively with a clear head (as much as it can be in such a stressful situation!). Luckily, Cachia and her husband followed their instinct: “We used prior knowledge and listened to our gut” and they got Florence to the hospital, where she was treated for asthma.
Little Florence is now safely back home and the Cachias know to keep following their instincts in the future. And thanks to sharing this video, other parents will also know what physical signs to look out for. With the CDC reporting asthma in 8.4 percent of children, that’s a lot of anxious parents needing advice.
For further information, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America have a lot of useful details on their website, including other signs to look out for, including:
- Fast breathing
- Working harder to breathe (nostrils flaring, skin is sucking in around and between ribs or above the sternum, or exaggerated belly movement)
- Panting with normal activities such as playing
- Wheezing (a whistling sound)
- Persistent coughing
- Difficulty sucking or eating
- Tiredness, not interested in normal or favorite activities
- Very pale or blue coloring in face, lips and/or fingernails