2 year old hates his inhaler

I have a 2 year old son, who had been to A&E yesterday because of bad wheezing and difficulty breathing. He was given a few doses of oxygen mixed with salbutamol at first, then today he was given salbutamol through a volumatic spacer and face mask, and I was told to administer it to him 4 hourly. During the day, he can be cajoled into doing it with tv and sweets afterwards. The hard part is administering it to him at night. I was told I could just hover it a few mm above his nose and mouth and he'd get a few breaths of it that way. However he normally likes to sleep on his tummy or turned right to the side, which made it impossible to administer it because the volumatic just wouldn't fit into his baby cot once he's in a sideways-facing position. So I tried to turn him so that he sleeps on his back, but he just won't have it, and eventually gets into a semi-conscious rage at being woken up from his sleep - truth be told, he seemed to be sleeping so soundly otherwise. Well, I tried cradling him in my arms, in front of the telly playing his favourite shows, he just wouldn't have it. And he's usually a very determined fellow. He kept insisting to be put back to sleep in his cot right now. He put up a real fight and took the volumatic apart or knocked it out of my hand. Not once did I manage to get the mask to fit over his face for more than a second. He'd cry as well. I just attempted to give him his midnight dose an hour ago, a bit of a nightmare, and I doubt he got much of it really. I'm gonna have to try again at 4 am and really not looking forward to it. Can someone here give me any tips on this? Will this trigger an asthma attack if he doesn't get enough of it? How else can you administer this to a baby who otherwise just wouldn't cooperate during night time? I'm worried that something bad might happen to him if he does not get enough of the medicine - I've seen how bad his breathing can get yesterday at the A&E (he almost lost consciousness), and really don't want a repeat - or worse - but I feel so exasperated at my inability to help him out. And my partner absolutely refused to help me. He said it felt wrong and cruel to pin a baby down to do this, and he thinks it would be fine just to skip a dose. Is he right? would it really be okay to skip a dose if the baby really refuses it?

8 Replies

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  • Hi erichsmum

    I feel for you. I have a son coming up to four who is not keen on being woken up to have his inhaler. It is tempting to leave it, but my advice is don't. In my experience is makes matters a lot worse. I've always been told by nurses and drs that if a child cries they can actually take more medicine in as they gulp for air(sorry, I know it sounds hard hearted) and it could be a case of holding him firmly and just getting it done.

    If it's any consolation, my son's got a lot better as he's got older and realises it helps him breathe. If this keeps happening, get him referred to a paediatric respiratory consultant. If he is having problems breathing and you're having to give 10 puffs more than four hourly, you need to take him to A&E.

    I had really bad advice from a GP telling me it was okay to give 10 puffs every 2hrs and keep my son at home. It wasn't. He got very poorly.

    I've found the AsthmaUK nurse line invaluable for giving me advice.

    Best wishes

    Jane

  • Hi

    My little girl is nearly 3 and we have just been told that she has asthma, we have been on a brown inhalor twice a day for about a month now, and also had trouble having to wake Emily up to give her her blue inhalor when bad at night.

    The only thing that worked, was lining up chocolate buttons, every puff from the spacer she gets one, it working so far, and even though she is grumpy and upset at first when we wake her, she soon calms down.

    May work with your little boy.

    good luck!

    Sarah

  • Hiya. Could you talk to your doc about a bedtime neb? The portable omron microair I use is so quiet it would not wake him at all if you put the face mask near his face! In fact thats why they have made it so silent apparently. Its just an idea I know theres lots of in's and outs with nebulisers at home but it sounds like it would save a lot of aggro!

  • my brother and sister (3 and 5) both have asthma and there have been times where we also had to do the same. i know it sounds terrible, but my father held them (one at a time) with one hand on his lap against his chest, while administering the drug with his other hand, while i held their legs firmly so they couldnt kick.

    so yes basically it was forced down them. but however upsetting this is, it is definitely for the best. we also bribed alex with pringles- he loves them- and maggie with sweets and tv. they tend to hate the steroid one though as it tastes nasty and also changes their taste buds. maggie tells me ofter that it is ""yucky"".

    funny as i take it regularly and havent noticed anything wrong with my taste buds?

  • My experience is a few years old but my son was put on a spacer very early on. My GP gave me 2 spacers, one for his toy box and one to use with inhalers. That seemed to help. Also, I left the valve in that makes the rattle - for the toy box one. Anyhow, he got himself of the mask - he liked making the clicking noise. Of course no two kids are the same but it might be worth a chat with the GP?

  • I think it would be worth asking your GP for a different spacer. If funds allow you might even want to consider buying one or two online to see if there is one that is more manageable. There are lots of different designs out there and maybe a smaller one would be easier. My daughter was under 2 when diagnosed with asthma and I used to give her the inhaler through a spacer and face mask while she was asleep in her cot. She's almost 13 now so I can't remember exactly, but I do remember leaning over at some very awkward angles. Our GP at the time said to let her be involved during the day and this worked really well. She used to hold the mask on her face while I activated the inhaler. If you can explain to him in very simple terms that his medicine will help him feel better it is infinitely preferable to bribery if you can avoid it. Let him play with the spacer and maybe give teddy his medicine etc. You might also find that the asthma nurse at your surgery or some of the younger GPs with children can give you some helpful tips. Best of luck.

  • my boy was 8 months wen he started aving it he scremed at the site ov it every single time he had it he litrally had to be pinned down, even at 1-2 he used to av nightmares about it it was 1 ov the worst things bout his asthma i thought it was guna traumatise him for life it was the worst thing having to pin down my precious little boy even though i knew it was for the best that he needed it to get beta, he didnt he didnt ava clue, but now i am exstremly happy to say for the last 5 months hes become very very independant and luvs taking controll of his atsthma he tells me wen he needs his pump pumps, gets um counts to ten on every puff and even wants to put them away safe is his pump bag, i hope the very best for u and ur son x x pinnin down may not be fair to ur son but is him going thru a&e barely being able to breath i aint guna pretend its a nice thing to do i cried every time, but if he dont get wot he needs he will most prob end up worse, and if a baby cries the breath in deeper there 4 getting alot more the hospital told me that wen i first tuk reiss in i wanted them to stop,x

  • my boy was 8 months wen he started aving it he scremed at the site ov it every single time he had it he litrally had to be pinned down, even at 1-2 he used to av nightmares about it it was 1 ov the worst things bout his asthma i thought it was guna traumatise him for life it was the worst thing having to pin down my precious little boy even though i knew it was for the best that he needed it to get beta, he didnt he didnt ava clue, but now i am exstremly happy to say for the last 5 months hes become very very independant and luvs taking controll of his atsthma he tells me wen he needs his pump pumps, gets um counts to ten on every puff and even wants to put them away safe is his pump bag, i hope the very best for u and ur son x x pinnin down may not be fair to ur son but is him going thru a&e barely being able to breath i aint guna pretend its a nice thing to do i cried every time, but if he dont get wot he needs he will most prob end up worse, and if a baby cries the breath in deeper there 4 getting alot more the hospital told me that wen i first tuk reiss in i wanted them to stop,x

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