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6yo son breathing issue, gasping spells


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Probably one for Sheryll but if anyone has any experience would be interested to hear. Not after an online diagnosis by the way. Been to the doctors one and returning tomorrow for follow up. My 6 year old son recently started having spells of where he appears to take deep gasps of air. Not gasping as such....like he will sit on the sofa and maybe every minute take a big gulp of air, like he can't fill his lungs properly. May last 10 minutes to an hour. Like he is not say as bad as an asthma attack or such....more like a person actually who is distressed or even bored. The first trip to the doctor he checked his heart and everything else and said 100% fine, he looked in his nasal cavities and seemed convinced it was a nasal allergy. I myself have had chronic asthma and allergies all my life and neither appears to be the case with him. I have tried him on Ventolin several times and he said there was no relief at all. Since going to the doctors we have tried nasal spray and flushing as prescribed by the doctor but several times he has been like this I asked him if easy to breathe through his nose and got him to do so and doesn't seem to be the problem. I thought then maybe some sort of food allergy but doesn't seem to link to anything. 

 

Let me say in every respect he is extremely healthy. He doesn't seem to get it when he sleeps nor does it interrupt his sleep. He eats like a horse. We walk back to the car from school every day nearly a km at a fairly brisk pace and he isn't puffed out or anything. He doesn't seemed to be fatigued in anyway like he was suffering from a lack of oxygen. Mainly at night after dinner or generally night time but he has had it in the morning as well. Does seem to have happened since he started his new school about a month ago. When he does get it it usually seems to be when he is bored, or irritable or maybe can't get his own way. And like I said could last for 10 minutes or an hour and usually all of a sudden he will cheer up and so does his breathing. He is not under any stress or fear of school as far as I know and is always a happy and outgoing child. 

 

Reason I am asking the question here is I want to be forearmed before going to the doctor tomorrow. I know it must be very difficult diagnosing children and a lot of it must be trial and error and guess work and I don't want the doctor going up dry gullies chasing shadows or doing unnecessary tests or prescribing unnecessary meds. I am totally stumped as to what it could be. I am sure he isn't doing it consciously etc to get attention or otherwise.

 

My question is could it be something he has just developed a habit of doing?..... or momentarily forgetting to breathe? and will grow out of it?

Does this happen with kids? 

Hope someone can help

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My daughter had same it was GURD acid issues broght on by stress and <deleted> diet 

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You can buy  monitors for a couple of hundred baht on Lazada, like these. Not saying it's the answer, but it may help pinpoint something while he is having the attack.

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21 minutes ago, pest said:

My daughter had same it was GURD acid issues broght on by stress and <deleted> diet 

Were there any other symptoms like she noticed acid in her mouth or tummy upset, pain etc? He doesn't seem to have any other issues related to tummy issues or reflux

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Babalooey said:

Hello. Let me start by saying that I am NOT a pediatric physician. I am a retired ER Physician and this is not my field of practice. That being said…

 

What you are describing is commonly referred to as a “Peep”. The lungs need peeps in order to fully expand the lungs whenever they start to deflate. There are many reason. Illness, lethargy, allergy, etc. 

 

if the lungs are not fully exchanging oxygen & carbon dioxide, the decrease will tend to keep the lungs from fully inflating. It is a normal process. 
 

ok, so enough about the condition, let’s talk about the possible solutions

 

in children, lucky there are options. I’ve seen many premature infants with underdeveloped lungs that did not survive and was peeping 25x minute


your pediatrician can give you a better, complete understanding but here are a few.

so what are the options

1) deep breath exercises. This is to increase lung mass and volume 

2) lots of exercise (running, jumping, swimming) anything that increases the heart pumping and breathing

3) allergy medicines. There may be an airborne substance in the new school that you child may be allergic to

4) steroids. (While I am not a big fan of steroids, it short term they have their uses)

5) psychotherapy. Sometime these are brought on subconsciously and it takes a little bit of managing the mind in order to alter it.  It’s the same principal of a child sucking their thumb. It’s a comfort zone

6) change of environment and see if it vanishes

 

in order to determine what is the exact cause and course of treatment, you need to visit an qualified clinic or hospital where they can test for the actual cause and not guess the reason. 
 

I hope this helps, let me know what happens. 

That all sounds like great advice. The incidents do sort of seem to happen with his moods though. He came out to breakfast this morning and I asked him how his breathing was. He said ummmmm (had a little think) and then said not too bad but not good. He had just woken up and a bit grumpy. I saw him take a couple of deep breaths. The observed him over 10 minutes he was joking around with the other son and seemed to have forgotten all about it. I said to my wife ....watch this...I asked him to quickly run in the lounge room and get something...go on quick hurry up etc so he had to sprint in and back out again. Back to the table, good as gold. No puffing or panting. Continued on joking around with his brother. My feeling is if he indeed had a real respiratory disorder he would be extremely short of breath running into the lounge room and back. 

 

When he gets it, and it's not that often and not for long...it is not an attack like an asthma attack, and it's not like he's struggling to get breath. More big long deep breaths every 20 or 30 seconds. Like someone sighing when they are bored or worried. Don't get me wrong, if there is an issue I want to get it sorted....but with children and if you get the wrong doctor who assumes the wrong thing you can head up a path of tests, poking / prodding or worse that's hard to get off. And I understand it's very difficult for the doctor extracting information from kids or adults for that matter. And if all tests prove ok all he can do is make a best guess and a form of treatment to suit. I am not trying to be an armchair expert but after having 5 kids I find it best to get the doctors advice and a modicum of your own common sense is required as you are the person who is witnessing the symptoms.  

Edited by Kenny202
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23 minutes ago, Babalooey said:

Hello. Let me start by saying that I am NOT a pediatric physician. I am a retired ER Physician and this is not my field of practice. That being said…

 

What you are describing is commonly referred to as a “Peep”. The lungs need peeps in order to fully expand the lungs whenever they start to deflate. There are many reason. Illness, lethargy, allergy, etc. 

 

if the lungs are not fully exchanging oxygen & carbon dioxide, the decrease will tend to keep the lungs from fully inflating. It is a normal process. 
 

ok, so enough about the condition, let’s talk about the possible solutions

 

in children, lucky there are options. I’ve seen many premature infants with underdeveloped lungs that did not survive and was peeping 25x minute


your pediatrician can give you a better, complete understanding but here are a few.

so what are the options

1) deep breath exercises. This is to increase lung mass and volume 

2) lots of exercise (running, jumping, swimming) anything that increases the heart pumping and breathing

3) allergy medicines. There may be an airborne substance in the new school that you child may be allergic to

4) steroids. (While I am not a big fan of steroids, it short term they have their uses)

5) psychotherapy. Sometime these are brought on subconsciously and it takes a little bit of managing the mind in order to alter it.  It’s the same principal of a child sucking their thumb. It’s a comfort zone

6) change of environment and see if it vanishes

 

in order to determine what is the exact cause and course of treatment, you need to visit an qualified clinic or hospital where they can test for the actual cause and not guess the reason. 
 

I hope this helps, let me know what happens. 

I was a practicing psychotherapist for many years (medically I cannot comment). Have also been a devotee and qual's as a fitness trainer.

I would suggest strong exercise to strengthen the trunk, ab muscles etc, to promote a healthy heart muscle, and expand and deeply open the lungs as our good physician suggests. You say you've checked out the physical possibilities of congenital and other organic developmental issues.

As to psychotherapy if your son is open with decent boundaries to contain self and keep others appropriately separate, safely spontaneous - with his feelings and actions, exhibits a decent sense of self awareness and automatic self-care (not too risk taking to the point of crazy self-harm behaviours), is able to establish and maintain nurturing relationships, is empathic etc.

I would take a non-consult guess about your dear son that the gasping is as our doc suggests i.e. is simply an autonomic response to clear the CO2 from the lungs and get more oxygen (air) in. 

Be aware of not projecting onto your son your childhood experiences of breathing, lung issues. Its easy to do and to harbour anxiety when with the child, this is transmitted and is interpreted in different ways by our kids.

I'm sure you know that many asthmatic (and other) people take up swimming for general health, and as a great ameliorate for this condition.

It could be a great father son opportunity to taking swim lessons (learn how to breath, tumble turn, good efficient stroke, and share swimming laps together which I imagine could be a wonderful nurturing time for you both, and as a general health component for life.   

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It's Not Physical As Many Stated

It's Not 'What You Had'

 

Stop Pumping Him Up With Anything

 

Speak To Him

Show Him Love And Support

Let Him Speak

Listen To Him

 

If Not Disturbing Issues Out Of The Home...Then Disturbing Issues In The Home...

 

Spend Some Time With Him (?)

Do Some Sports With Him (?)

Even Just Going For Walks (?)

 

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Astma caused by allergi. Had it when younger until I went through hyposense allergy treatment which took 3 years. Now I have been allergy free 20 years. You have clinics that do allergy tests and food allergy tests.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, sead said:

Astma caused by allergi. Had it when younger until I went through hyposense allergy treatment which took 3 years. Now I have been allergy free 20 years. You have clinics that do allergy tests and food allergy tests.

I am an asthmatic myself and it just doesnt seem to be that. Ventolin he says does nothing which wouldnt be the case if it was mild asthma or even an allergy I would have thought. Allergies trigger asthma right? There seems to be no congestion so not bronchitis. Also if it was asthma he wouldnt be able to run around or do other things in the middle of an episode for want of a better word. There is no trauma or issues at school. He is the sort of kid you would know.

Edited by Kenny202
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37 minutes ago, Kenny202 said:

I am an asthmatic myself and it just doesnt seem to be that. Ventolin he says does nothing which wouldnt be the case if it was mild asthma or even an allergy I would have thought. Allergies trigger asthma right? There seems to be no congestion so not bronchitis. Also if it was asthma he wouldnt be able to run around or do other things in the middle of an episode for want of a better word. There is no trauma or issues at school. He is the sort of kid you would know

I was in Phuket 3 years ago and had to leave after 3 days. There were so many construction sites that my lungs were blocked. I panicked and after leaving Phuket it went away.  I wish you luck with finding out the problem

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From what you describe I am not sure there is any reason to be concerned or do anything (though of course I have nto witnessed these episodes).

 

Could these just be deep sighs? The reason for those can be psychological or physical but do not necessarily indicate presence of disease.

 

In fact some people just make a habit of it.

 

But if really concerned, get pulmonary function tests.

 

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12 minutes ago, Sheryl said:

From what you describe I am not sure there is any reason to be concerned or do anything (though of course I have nto witnessed these episodes).

 

Could these just be deep sighs? The reason for those can be psychological or physical but do not necessarily indicate presence of disease.

 

In fact some people just make a habit of it.

 

But if really concerned, get pulmonary function tests.

 

Yeah thats exactly whats like Sheryl. And Im guessing if it was an allergy or asthma he wouldnt forget all about it in 10-30 minutes when something else catches his interest. I would have also thought if pulmonary issues he would be feeling tired or some other symptoms. On the way to the doctors again now so see what she has to say. Thanks all for the advice and replies

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Yes, if it were a pulmonary issue one would expect him to have shortness of breath on exertion etc.

 

Sounds like he is simply heaving a few deep sighs from time to time, a personal mannerism or sign of boredom etc.

 

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My son had episodes like this when he was 5 or 6, worse when he had a cold. 

He is very active and not an ounce of fat on him. He would sometimes take deeper breaths and his lips would blow out a bit when exhaling. One night when he was full of cold he was sucking his stomach in to breathe so called for help. Been fine since. Doctor gave him an inhaler with Aerochamber diffuser to use if he is visibly puffing out but rarely needs it. I find he sometimes has persistent little coughs too when he is at his worst. Doctor said they can't diagnose asthma at that age so have to wait until he's a little older before he can do tests. 

You could get a SpO2 meter to pop on his finger to test if he is getting enough oxygen, very cheap to buy. If that's OK, he might have a mild asthma or just as others have said, could even be a little stress. Give him plenty of love and attention to distract his mind 😊

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I red your story and in it you, yourself already noticed, he will do it when his mind is by himself. As "usually seems to be when he is bored, or irritable or maybe can't get his own way" .

A state of mind, thoughts could be leading to that. As in all other situations, you say he is ok. And also when he gets back in a "normal" way, you say it is over. It also started with new school.

It can be linked together then? Maybe. Maybe he is bothered with something and comes up.

If he does it in his sleep you should watch him then all night, as there is not really a  specific time, he has the "attack".

You think, he is happy and doing all ok, but there can be something in his mind and dont tell.

 

When my oldest son was younger, he needed a circumcision.

He loved swimming and they had lessons in school. Just at one point we got the issue, he didnt like swimming anymore. Just out of the blue. So we were both surprised and he didnt tell anything else. Only "I dont like swimming anymore".

So it puzzled me, but then all fitted together, it was after operation and then with class mates in swimming change room.  I made the connection, he got comments on the way he looked(ok his weeny) looking like that. As circumcision is not usual in the country, as in other countries.

My wife took it to school where somehow it was explained to the other kids and ... the problem was over and he loved swimming again.

 

It could be a coincidence, new school and breathing. It can be something else, like a disease. But it could be also state of mind which effects his breathing. You already experimented with it and noticed it.

It is however difficult, if it is like that, to find out, as it is in his mind. Happily not all the time. 

Kids can also hide events, for you to find out. 

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