About 18 months ago, my daughter Alex was acting very, very strangely: she was listless and tired all day long. She'd had a cold a couple of weeks earlier, but had gotten over it pretty well; besides she didn't have a fever or sniffles anymore. Sure, she had this weird little cough that didn't seem to go away, but it wasn't anything to worry about.
Or so I thought.
An emergency room visit later, it turned out that she was in the throes of a moderate asthma attack brought on by pneumonia. The reason that she hadn't been wheezing was because her bronchial tubes were so closed there wasn't enough room for air to pass through to create a wheeze; her tiredness and listlessness was due to lack of oxygen. That little cold she'd been fighting had turned into something much more serious.
This was the first time we'd learned Alex as prone to asthma. Since that horrible night, we've learned quite a bit more about her asthma: for example, it doesn't seem to be triggered by strenuous exercise, which is good, because Alex is becoming a very avid gymnast. But her asthma does seem to be triggered by the change of seasons, and when she has a cold, she almost invariably has an asthma attack.
As a result, I've become very vigilant about staving off colds and flu -- and I've become positively dictatorial about giving Alex daily vitamins. She doesn't mind -- especially since the vitamins we give her taste like gummy bears (have you tried these things? I have to keep myself from dipping into her jar of vitamins!). And if we're doing something particularly germy -- like, say, going on a trip that requires extensive air travel -- I often give her an extra dose of vitamin C, just in case.
So far, it seems to be generally working -- she's a pretty healthy 5-year-old now (knock wood). And until Alex shows signs of outgrowing her propensity to get flu- or cold-triggered asthma attacks, we'll likely continue our strict vitamin regimen.
How about you -- are you a dedicated vitamin-giver? Have you noticed it making a difference with your child?
Karen is a writer/photographer in Houston, Texas. You can read/see more of her work at Chookooloonks.
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