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How To Build An Asthma Kit

Every mom who has a kid with asthma needs to read this: How to build an asthma kit.

My baby stopped breathing just before his first birthday. It was the middle of the night when I woke to the sounds of his desperate gulps for air. I slammed on the light and flew out of bed to find him, pale as a ghost, purple-lipped and fighting to breathe. There was no crying, no fussing. Just the sickening hiccups of a baby determined to live.

He was not choking; that much I knew. I scooped him up, held him close and ran for the phone. Somewhere in the world, there is a 911 tape of a hysterical mama begging for help because her baby can’t breathe. And then, while on the phone, before the ambulance finally showed up, he vomited all over me, took a deep breath, and returned to normal instantaneously.

We spent the night in the emergency room at the children’s hospital, talking to respiratory therapists and doctors. He went home with a little baby inhaler that covered his face, but no answers as to what had transpired: just an ominous warning to watch for it to happen again.

It took 6 years for it to return. Same pattern: middle of the night, he woke up gasping for air, but this time he could tell me. His breathing was rough and fast and I could see his ribs, seemingly contracting through his back. And then he threw up, took a big breath and was completely fine.

It’s asthma. The classic wheezing kid, puffing an inhaler on tv and then running back to join his soccer team is not what asthma looks like. Asthma is intense. It’s scary and can strike without warning.

I still remember the fear and how overwhelmed I felt, stepping into the world of having an asthmatic kid. I read everything I could. It took 3 years to get his asthma somewhat under control, and in those three years, I tried to learn everything I could to keep him healthy.

One of the best things I did was put together an asthma kit. The kit stays at home in an easy to get to place. When his asthma starts bothering him, the kit comes out. Since everything is kept together, it makes it easy to remember what he needs when it flares up and we never have to go searching for something that was misplaced. It all goes back in the kit.

Disclaimer 1: I’ve provided links here to Amazon for the products I use. Using the links to order does send me a small percentage of the price you pay for your purchase, but no identifying information.

Disclaimer 2: I’m not a doctor, just a mom that fights asthma every day on the front lines. The things I share here work in my family. Please accept this as advice, but not the holy grail. Always consult your child’s doctor when making decisions about your child’s care.

Here’s what’s in our kit:

Every mom who has a kid with asthma needs to read this: How to build an asthma kit.

1) Extra inhalers, a spacer & Albuterol. This is important, because if you kid is having an asthma attack, it’s not a good time to go digging through your purse, looking for his inhaler. You need it now. If you can get one inhaler ahead on your prescriptions (easy to do if you use mail order pharmacies), you can place one in the kit before moving it over to your regular stash. Inhaler samples from the doctor’s office also work really well since they have just a few does in them. A partially used, but not empty inhaler works as well, just make sure to clean the plastic piece with hot water first to make sure none of the inhaler residue clogs it. The spacer is going to be important also, even if you kid doesn’t regularly use one: in the event of an attack, he or she might not be able to take a good breath on that one puff of air. The spacer will at least hold it so they can the medication in little bits (it also gives them something to focus their breathing on so they don’t completely freak out). We always keep the Albuterol in the kit because my son only uses it when his asthma is acting up.


Mucinex Mini Melts $7.80

2) Mucinex Mini-Melts. I love these things! Asthmatic kids tend to get mucus in their lungs that needs to come out. Mucinex does the trick. While you can get the over the counter, liquid Mucinex on the cheap, I like to buy these mini-melts. Inside the box are little tiny tubes of candy-like pieces of medicine. The reason I’m so devoted to these is that I can carry a couple of them in my purse and never worry about a mess. As an added bonus, my little guy doesn’t mind taking it because it’s not too mediciney.


3) A nebulizer with extra mouth pieces and tubing. This is literally our life saver. The nebulizer is what delivers the most powerful of emergency medicines. Extra tubing and mouthpieces are a must because you never know when one might clog or break.


Pulse Oximeter $25

4) A pulse oximeter. This is one of the absolute best investments I’ve ever made  for my family. The pulse oximeter is the little gadget that sits on the finger and tells you your oxygen saturation. This has been a tremendous help in alerting us when his oxygen is getting dangerously low. It’s also a great indicator of when he’s faking to get out of something. Make sure you look at reviews before you buy sine some aren’t reliable.


Stethoscope $10.28

5) Stethoscope. This is a new one to the kit. The stethoscope has been useful for monitoring how congested his lungs are and checking for improvement. It’s definitely not as easy to use as the oximeter, but even our untrained ears can tell if there’s a crackling sound coming from the lungs.


Personal Best Peak Flow Meter $17

6) Peak Flow Meter. This is another new one to our set. We don’t use peak flow meters often, but every once in a while, if you call in to an advice nurse, they’ll ask for your peak flow. This one was recently sent to us by our insurance company and it’s by far the nicest one we’ve ever had. it doesn’t take up too much space and it has a little slider on the side to record what your reading is. This makes it easier when you’re monitoring and forget to write it down.


1st Years Humidifier $27

7) Humidifier & 1 gallon of distilled water. This one didn’t make it into the picture at the top of this post because it’s even larger than the rest of the kit, but make no mistake, you need this. We’ve been through a handful of humidifiers with just so-so results, but last year we picked this one up and it has been phenomenal. It works quickly and quietly, the mist can be aimed anywhere you want, and it’s exceptionally reliable. On top of it all, it really makes a difference in our son’s asthma. When he gets a nasty asthma cough, we turn on the humidifier and it calms the cough quite a bit and makes him feel better. It’s been a fantastic addition to the kit. Also, we keep at least 1 gallon of distilled water to fill the humidifier. Distilled water doesn’t have any of the hard stuff that tap water does that can cause sediment build-up that shortens the humidifier’s life.


That’s our asthma kit. I hope it helps all you moms out there with the same struggles we’ve had.


If you have something in your kit that mine doesn’t, let me know! I’m always open to updating.






Thanks so much to the following blogs and link parties for allowing me to share this post:

The Chicken Chick, Happiness is Homemade, Best of the Blogosphere,
Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop, Tumbleweed Contessa, Mom 2 Mom,
Turn it up Tuesday, Lou Lou Girls

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27 thoughts on “How To Build An Asthma Kit

  1. Oh my goodness, this post couldn’t have come at a better time for me. BOTH my kids have asthma and last winter we got by really good and the doctor started taking them off their daily meds… well, we came to this winter and it has been horrible. I have been so stressed out, my daughter has had to go on the oral steroids 3 times and has 4 attacks and my son has just had 1 (he is older and seems to be getting better). It IS so scary! My kids both start coughing a lot once their asthma kicks in. I need to try those Mucinex and I can’t believe I don’t already have a pulse oximeter!! My daughter is 6 and my son is 8… my son had to take the ambulance to the ER once because of his! 🙁 And, my daughter has had a 2 day stay at the hospital for hers. It is serious stuff. I get stressed anytime I hear a child cough lately, because I’ve been so stressed over their asthma. Not fun for mom either!! 🙁 Thanks for your post!

    1. Christine says:

      Carrie- I’m so sorry to hear about your kiddos. I’m sending you HUGE prayers. I hope they can get their asthma under control soon!


  2. coolchillmom says:

    Wow what a crazy and desperate night for you guys Thanks for putting this kit together. It will hlp many. Glad you linked up at the best of the blogosphere

  3. Oh my…great post!Pinned and tweeted. Thank you for being part of our party. I hope to see you on Monday at 7. Lou Lou Girls

  4. Oh my goodness!! I can’t imagine how scary that must have been to wake up to the sound of your son gasping for air. Ah! This is such great info, and I’m so happy to hear it’s helped him. Thanks so much for sharing this at Motivational Monday!! Hope to have you back again on Sunday!

    1. Christine says:

      Thanks Amanda 🙂

  5. Sarah Fuller says:

    Peak flow meter was so helpful for my asthma as a pre-teen and teenager. Really helped me know when breathing was clamping down enough to need inhaler.

    1. Christine says:

      They can be great!

      Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  6. cathy says:

    Oh my goodness Christine, I could not imagine the panic! Thank you for bringing awareness to this! What a great kit! Thank you so much for hanging out with me today at Making Memories Mondays, I am so glad that you shared this!

    1. Christine says:

      Thanks so much Cathy 🙂

  7. Lisa Ehrman says:

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s very important. Mine has entered a remission in early adulthood, but I remember those scary childhood attacks of asthma.

    1. Christine says:

      Thanks so much Lisa! Glad to hear you outgrew it! 🙂

  8. Erin says:

    As the Mom of an asthmatic 5 year old this is on point! I had never even though of getting a pulse oximeter. I also have no idea why I haven’t gotten a stethoscope for home yet. Those melts are ideal though! I will definitely be sharing this! So happy I found you on the Best of the Blogosphere!

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Erin! Thank you so much for your comments. I really hoped that my post would find someone who could use it. I didn’t know in the beginning that anybody can buy an oxomiter! I thought it was just one of those things that doctor’s and hospitals have. It has been though, hands down, the best medical purchase I’ve ever made for our family. I cannot tell you how many times it has put my worried mama mind at ease.

      Thanks so much for commenting 🙂

  9. What a terrifying experience for you! These are some great tips. Thanks for sharing at What’d You Do This Weekend? 🙂

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Joy! It is tough being a mama 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Reecea says:

    Visiting you from Best of Blogosphere Link Party. Asthma is so frightening, particularly with children. Nice post.

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Reecea. Thanks so much 🙂

  11. Nakisha says:

    Reading this gave me chills up and down my spine. Asthma runs like wildfire in our family and although my sons is very mild it still sends me into a panic when he has an attack. I’m always afraid this one is going to be the one that is too big to handle at home and can I make it to the hospital in time. I think this is a great post. Although I have spare inhalers around the house and a meter (that looks just like the one pictures above) I never though to put a whole kit together. Seems like such an obvious thing to do. We also will take him outside if its cold enough which seems to help a little bit.

    1. Christine says:

      Hi Nakisha. I’m so glad that your son’s has been mild and that the cold air helps! Crossing my fingers for you all that it never gets any worse than that. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

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