You know when I was a new mom I would run to the doctor’s office every time my son had something going on because I was not sure if his cough was affecting his lungs or it was just in his nose. Since he developed chronic asthma as a baby I had to be very careful when congestion set in because if it triggered his asthma it could cause difficulty breathing and I would have no clue. This happened to me once and I ended up in the ER with him at 9 months old.
So I made it a point to ask the doctors to teach me what his chest would look like if he was struggling to breath as a baby. I learned to look for labored breathing that makes the rib muscles retract (when muscles under the ribcage or between ribs draw inward with each breath).
As time passed now I have 3 children and I decided a long time ago to invest in a good stethoscope. Why? Well, now that I know what wheezing sounds like I can recognize it in the lungs. I can also tell when the lungs are congested and sometimes it is in one lung or both.
Having a stethoscope at home is really helpful for our family because it benefits everyone in our home and even our visitors. We also save money because if one of the kids is congested and we want to know if it just in the nose then a quick listen lets us know if its something that warrants missing work and rushing to the doctor’s office. An example of this is when I had walking pneumonia after starting my new job but I did not have any symptoms except extreme fatigue and I felt like I had the pressure of someones foot in my chest. I could not hear anything on my own but with my stethoscope it was unbelievable, my chest was crackling badly and I knew I had to run to the doctor immediately and get looked at.
Once you visit your doctor, if pneumonia is suspected, a chest X-ray, blood test and bacterial culture of mucus from the throat or nose also might be done to confirm the diagnosis. So it’s VERY important that you seek medical assistance immediately, ESPECIALLY if dealing with children.
Having a stethoscope at home gives me peace of mind. I know to check my little ones after their doctor visits and monitor the situation to see if it is getting worse and our pediatricians work with me on this which is great.
You can ask your doctor to let you hear what congestion, wheezing and pneumonia sounds like. If your doctor does not want to help you, don’t worry. You can always use Google to find examples and explanations. That way you can be on the lookout.
But as with all things use your better judgment and DO consult with your doctor before doing any preliminary doctor mom or doctor dad work. I have made that choice because I have many years of researching and learning from my children in addition to working in the medical field and having doctors in my family. I have taken many courses with physicians and herbalists and have read hundreds of books, attended lectures and I am always staying on top of our health and wellness. So in order to understand the body and how it reacts to illness and deficiencies you must research and study like a doctor would. Comprende??
If you want to get a stethoscope, Amazon.com has very good ones ranging from super cheap to hospital grade.