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Cough-variant asthma

Squirrel6262 profile image
26 Replies

can anyone provide any information on tips for parent when dealing with doctors, ambulance medics, hospital staff and others. Many have not much knowledge of cough-variant asthma and examine our child and comment, here is no wheeze and lungs sound clear. There is no wheeze and her lungs are clear, she has unremitting non productive, dry, distressing cough till she dry reaches and/or vomits n can't talk or walk. Typical symptom for cough-variant asthma.

Also are there any tips for easing the coughing? She has been to doctor 3 times and hospital once in past week. She is on preventer, reliever and Prednisone. Any tips appreciated, she gets very distressed with unremitting coughing. She's very fussy about what she will try.

26 Replies
risabel59 profile image

I have asthma, and cough a lot without wheezing or bad inflammation. I do also wheeze and get inflammation and when I do they're hard to get rid of.

However the following things have helped me: 1. better breathing, I see a respiratory physio to help deal with disordered breathing this has helped but is not a cure all. 2. I use a low dose theophylline (uniphyllin) specfically to deal with triggers ie: dust, scents, etc not necessarily allergies. 3. The other thing that really helps is the Buteyko "stop cough" method. you can find this on You tube. It makes a big difference to me when the coughing really takes off. (only use this for an unproductive cough).

My consultant believes that people with Asthma can get lungs that over react to the most minor provocation, and once the asthma is under control its about trying to retrain the lungs not to go crazy at normal things, say for instance strong smells. (I happen to think this is very hard).

The other thing that really helps me is being on top of my asthma, ie making sure that it is properly under control with the drugs I use. I have far fewer episodes if my control is tip top.

It is really helpful if your daughter/ you keep a good asthma diary, with PEF numbers and if you have a smart peak flow meter, FEV1. I have found that this helps tremendously dealing with doctors. Also it gives you the heads up if things are going down hill. Also include night waking and ventolin usage, and when coughing episodes occur.

Hope this is somewhat helpful. This my experience, and I am reminded that everyone's asthma is different.



Oldandgray profile image
Oldandgray in reply to risabel59

I agree with you post. I have CVA and I’m so often told that as I don’t wheeze, have a non productive cough and levels ok I can’t possibly have asthma. I know it’s getting bad because the pain in my ribs gets much worse.I have tried many things and find some work some of the time, a teaspoon of clear honey helps the thick throat mucus to move.

It needs to be clearly stated on the young girls notes that’s she has CVA and how this effects her.

Squirrel6262 profile image
Squirrel6262 in reply to Oldandgray

Thank you for your reply.

Squirrel6262 profile image
Squirrel6262 in reply to risabel59

Thank you for your reply. Have ordered digital PEF and FEV.1 monitor today. Doctor has written on new Asthma Action Plan and notes today, excessive coughing.

Squirrel6262 profile image
Squirrel6262 in reply to risabel59

Thanks for all replies. In process of arranging allergy tests but meanwhile reducing potential allergens by replacing her pillows. Have a cat and dog so washing or wiping down everything that may have dander on it, will shampoo small dog and brush cat weekly, putting soft toys in deep freeze then taking them out and wiping them, damp dusting everything I can think of. Changing to natural laundry powder and hot washes, avoiding perfumes etc, airing house more but keeping even temperature in house when she is home. There's no mould in house. Wondering if it's pollen season or there are grasses she reacts to, it's winter going on spring in Australia. Keeping a diary of meds given and ant asthma episodes. Raised head of bed. Have a lot more information and am being pro-active so feeling in better position to get the help required from medical profession when necessary. Any further suggestions gratefully received.

Itswonderful profile image

Have you phone the AN here ? I believe they are very helpful. Are you in the UK?

Squirrel6262 profile image
Squirrel6262 in reply to Itswonderful

No Australia.

Pipswhips profile image
Pipswhips in reply to Squirrel6262

They have similar in australia look up on google or whatever search engine you use i think it goes under asthma australia or type asthma helpline.

Pipswhips profile image

Sorry to hear about the poor little might ive got a cough and still trying to find out whats causing got ct results but just a 3 line letter got more question then answers.

Tugun profile image


Ask the doctor to write a letter stating that the coughing is asthma. You can then keep this in your purse and show it when needed.

Squirrel6262 profile image
Squirrel6262 in reply to Tugun

Thanks for your reply, I have now done this.

madamestephens profile image

I agree about having it noted. In the UK there is an 'asthma plan' and if you have a system like that, you can make sure it says that the reliever inhaler/etc should be used in response to the coughing as well as breathlessness/wheezing. My son's was much improved when he was given daily Montelukast tablets as well as his two puffs morning & night on a preventer inhaler.

Squirrel6262 profile image
Squirrel6262 in reply to madamestephens

Thank you for your reply. Will Google Montelukast and see if worth suggesting to GP to prescribe. We are in Australia so drug may go under different name.

fraid profile image

Never heard of asthma causing you to not talk,walk.Are you sure nothing else going on there?I would have to ask? How old is she? Hope you find solution,must be so distressing for her,and you.X

Squirrel6262 profile image
Squirrel6262 in reply to fraid

She can't talk when she is coughing to the point of throwing up and has been coughing and vomiting for hours. Can't walk due to exhaustion and the unremitting coughing with head in a bucket. It's awful to watch but have new GP and he seems switched on. Has written up new asthma plan.

Squirrel6262 profile image
Squirrel6262 in reply to fraid

She's 9 and when sick looks haunted and pale with dark rings under her eyes. It's hard to watch but think Prednisone finally kicking in. I think she vomited one dose of Predisone up which didn't help as only given 3 tablets, went back to doctor and was given 2 more. Hopefully on the up and up now.

Gwalltarian profile image
Gwalltarian in reply to fraid

If you can’t get your breath then it can be impossible to walk or talk - not dissimilar to athletes who are collapsed on the track at the end of a gruelling race.

ChrissieMons profile image

My view would be 'I don't care whether you call it asthma or anything else: the child is distressed and ill and needs help.' You sometimes need to be prepared for a bit of a fight if your symptoms don't fit the medics' bill. Good luck!

Squirrel6262 profile image
Squirrel6262 in reply to ChrissieMons

Great suggestion, thank you.

Gareth57 profile image

Hi, I used to find the steam in a shower helped calm things down, but asthma is strange thing and this might not work or might make it worse for your daughter. There is a lot of trial and error in trying to get asthma under control and finding what works for you and what needs to be avoided, it might even be seasonal!

fraid profile image

Sounds awful for the poor child.Surely doc can give her meds to stop the cough too? She must be exhausted with it all. Dox over here tend to just treat one thing when often there’s other things too.Hope she gets some relief soon.X🤗

Squirrel6262 profile image
Squirrel6262 in reply to fraid

She's on new reliever but it didn't work yesterday. Trying anti dust mite mattress and pillow protectors, natural laundry powder, hot washes, natural shampoo, body wash, dish wash liquid. Every little change may help. Been told cough mixture doesn't help asthma cough. I get her to suck on mild mint lollies to help with cough. She is very fussy and won't even try lots of cough lollies. Am buying digital peak flow meter. Have new asthma plan with excessive coughing written on it. Doctor referred her to lab for a blood test to check for allergies. She is low in iron too. We are keeping temperature even in house. Bit trickier when she's at school though. Also raising head of her bed. Picked up lots of tips from this forum. Now need to be more assertive when dealing with medical personnel. Thinking of getting laminated card explaining she has been diagnosed with Cough-Variant Asthma, her lungs will sound clear, she has no wheeze and sats will be normal but she is distressed, her asthma plan is not working and whether you think it's asthma or not, she needs help.

fraid profile image

Well done you.Just wondered if she would suck Strepsils,strawberry flavour,to soothe her throat,if it’s not so irritated with cough,may help.They do me.She’s lucky to have such a caring mum! X

Kd34 profile image

Hi my little girl (3) was having severe coughing fits, vomiting through coughing worse coughing after exercise etc. I dreaded her getting a cold as it restarted the cycle of this cough. Doctors gave a reliever with the mask but didnt seem to help. Finally after lots of appointments over past year and half, we were prescribed Montelukast granules - she takes them daily and it is pretty much non existent now. She currently has a cold and does have 'the' cough but its manageable - when she has no cold the cough isn't there. I dont think anyone can understand how debilitating a 'cough' can be for a child especially!

Kd34 profile image
Kd34 in reply to Kd34

Cough sounds same, dry unproductive. Ended up in hospital before as she couldn't walk more than a few steps with it but no wheeze and lungs clear!

J1G54ws profile image

hi I’m 75 yrs old and also have severe cva. It’s been in remission for about 5 yrs But it’s started up again I have exactly what you precious daughter is experiencing..Vomiting all my meals up when I’m having a coughing fit. Hence the reason for loosing weight. brushing my teeth as that starts all the coughing and heaving. All my prescription meds come up. So now after using chenille modulite for 8 wks was which hasn’t helped me yet I brush my teeth after the inhaler and wait for all the heaving and gagging to settle then I can take my meds.and then eat my breakfast. Although if I cough during or after a meal I often still throw up so distressing exhausting etc But two things what does help when I’m having a coughing session are Jacobs throat and chesty cough sweets or fisherman’s friend original the latter really opens up the airways and is very effective for me. But a 9 yr old make not like them. I’m hoping that you’re daughter will get the help she needs as it’s an awful thing to deal with especially at such a young age.

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