Among the most terrifying moments I have experienced as a parent were when my two sons have had asthma attacks.
My boys have outgrown their worst symptoms for the most part, but I have vivid memories of rushing them to urgent care, praying that they’d get medicine quickly enough so that they wouldn’t be admitted to the hospital. Memories of sleeping next to a baby who is having trouble breathing, one hand on their little chest as it tightly contracts. And too many memories to count of administering medicine via nebulizer to a baby or toddler who fought me every step of the way.
But I think the worst part of having an asthmatic child are the attacks themselves — because watching a young child struggle to breathe is just downright frightening. Even when you know that medicine will likely rectify the situation, you still wait with baited breath for it all to work out, and for your baby to breathe easily again.
That is why this viral Instagram video showing a baby in the midst of an asthma attack really struck a chord for me — and for so many parents of asthmatic children. The video, shared two days ago by Australian Young Mummy blogger Sophie Cachia, is of her 9-month-daughter Florence, who was rushed to the hospital when Cachia and her family were on vacation this week.
The video shows baby “Flossy” clearly struggling to breathe. It is an upsetting video to watch, and anyone unfamiliar with asthma may find it difficult to view. But at the same time, it’s definitely an important educational piece for any parent who might not know the signs of asthma.
In the caption for the video, Cachia shares that baby Flossy had been brought to the hospital for asthma earlier during their vacation. But on the last day of the vacation — when the video was shot — she had to be rushed back to the hospital.
The video was taken in part because the family wanted to be able to show the hospital the seriousness of what was going on with Florence, on the off-chance that her symptoms diminished by the time they reached the hospital (which sounds like a pretty smart idea to me — yay for modern technology!).
“I only took this video just before they left in case she got to the hospital and was breathing fine,” Cachia wrote. “I always prefer to have something to show them upon arrival.”
Cachia shares that Florence’s older son Bobby is also asthmatic, so they had gotten accustomed to looking for warning signs like the ones that are evident in the video. “With Bobby being an asthmatic (and has been hospitalized multiple times with asthma attacks), we’re well aware of the signs to look for,” said Cachia.
And for all the viewers out there who aren’t quite sure what they are seeing in the video or what any of it means, the mom takes a moment to educate her audience, explaining some of the symptoms that poor Flossy is experiencing.
“The sucking in under her throat & her ribs means she’s working really hard to breathe,” Cachia explained. “We used prior knowledge & listened to our gut and Jaryd took her in just before bed time.”
Yes, that “sucking in” and contracting that can be seen in the video sure took me back to times that my boys had attacks. As the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America explains, other symptoms of asthma attacks can include rapid breathing, nostril flaring, chest retractions, panting, wheezing, persistent coughing, tiredness, turning pale — and in extreme emergency cases, turning blue from lack of oxygen.
Just as the Cachia family did, it is always best to go to the emergency room if any of these symptoms afflict your child, especially if it’s the first time. Once your child is diagnosed with asthma, home treatments (often in the form of medicine administered by nebulizer for a young child) are usually sufficient, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
Of course, as Cachia mentioned, “listening to your gut” about whether to bring your child in is one of the most important things you can do in situations like these.
Luckily, Cachia shared that baby Florence ended up being just fine after spending the night in the hospital. In an “update” at the end of the post, Cachia described how Florence is doing now.
“Florence is doing VERY well and loving being back in her own bed. Thank you again for all the love,” she wrote.
Just the very next day, Cachia shared a picture of herself and baby Florence, both looking jolly and beautiful as ever. Suffice it to say, it looks like baby Flossy recovered swiftly and beautifully from her most recent asthma episode.
“ALL SMILES,” wrote Cachia. “We might not have got the holiday we were after Flossy gal, but Melbourne is certainly turning on the weather.”
Let’s hope that the Cachias thoroughly enjoy the rest of their trip. Unfortunately, as so many of us parents know, medical scares with kids don’t always take a break during vacation. And yet, we push through and always do what we need to do to keep our kids safe and healthy.
And big thanks to Cachia and her family for sharing this important information for parents everywhere. With something like asthma, it’s so vital to know the signs of an attack. Parents who view this video will be armed with the knowledge they need to recognize this scary problem, and address it right away.