Daniel was diagnosed with asthma when he was 8 months old. His asthma is now fairly well controlled (aged 11) but he suffers from a flu-like illness at least once every winter which makes his symptoms worse. Nia has noticed that a course of antibiotics can help him not become so unwell with an infection but is also concerned about the possibility of him building up resistance.
Nia’s son, Daniel who is now 11, was diagnosed with asthma when he was only 8 months old. The diagnosis was made after he fell ill and was hospitalized with pneumonia. Daniel spent 2 weeks in hospital and was treated with IV (intravenous) fluids and antibiotics and he was also tube fed. At the time Nia was 17 and still at college so her parents stayed with Daniel in hospital during the day while she carried on with her studies the best she could. She had felt dismissed initially by her GP and felt this was to do with her young age and lack of experience but the hospital staff were great.
When Nia’s brother was young, he was also diagnosed with asthma so both Nia and her parents were familiar with the condition and she says this helped them understand the condition better. Daniel was diagnosed in 2002 and Nia describes how access to health information was very limited; the internet was only starting off and she mainly relied on books about child health. Daniel’s asthma is now fairly well controlled and his care is coordinated by their GP.
Daniel suffers from a flu-like illness at least once every winter. It usually starts with a head cold and then progresses with him becoming wheezy, developing chest crackles, becoming more lethargic and pale/grey in colour. As soon as the symptoms start, Nia ups his asthma medications. Through experience she has learnt that if he is given a course of steroids and antibiotics by the time he develops chest symptoms, it can prevent him from getting more unwell. Nia usually sees the same GP who knows Daniel well and he also trusts the GP. When Daniel was a baby, Nia was more inclined to take him to the hospital when he was ill whereas now she is more confident to look after him at home. With age, he’s also able to communicate how he’s feeling and can self-regulate so he takes it easy when recovering from a virus.
Nia says it can be a difficult decision to go on antibiotics because of worries of developing resistance to them but she is confident the family GP knows Daniel’s history and will make the right call. Daniel is lactose intolerant and Nia does wonder if that could be linked to the many courses of antibiotics he’s been on.
Looking after Daniel during an acute illness is mainly Nia’s responsibility. She is a part time lecturer and finds taking the time off work sometimes difficult because of the pressures of part time hours and her duties to students. She has had to use up her annual leave and take unpaid leave to stay at home with her son.