Asthma UK community forum
9,833 members16,611 posts

desperate for some advice

Hi there and thanks for reading!

My problem/worry is my 23 month old son, he was dx'd with asthma (not officially i'm told he cant be diagnosed till he turns 2?!?) in October last year, after a chest infection and cough that wouldnt shift and the cough is still here 5 months later. If anything its gotten worse and worse over the months. i've been to the doctors at least 12 or 13 times since then, have been told to keep him away from smoke and pets and feather quilts and pillows etc, no processed foods, i've thrown all teddies and dust harbourers from the house. We have massive problems with the inhaler and spacer as he wont have it anywhere near him so have been told to give it to him when sleeping, for the past 3 weeks we've been giving him montelukast before bed which has helped a little and the first few hours of his sleep at night are at least peaceful. But he looks so poorly, is mainly off his food, lost weight, dark purple under his eyes which are red rimmed from sleepless nights and painful coughing. Dr's just say its par for the course with asthma constant coughs and colds etc?

Its heartbreaking to feel so helpless, not to mention exhausting for us all with all the sleep deprivation the cough has gone from largely night time only to constant 24hrs barking cough.

If anyone has any advice or tips on what I could do to help him it would be gratefully received.

Thank you


9 Replies

Ah bless you. Our daughter has been on inhalers since she was 9 months old - Brown and Blue (useless with the actual names still and she's now 22 months lol). We had battles with her and her spacer to start with although we were fortunate(?) that my husband was an infant asthmatic and both his parents are so she got used to seeing people with inhalers and her grandad with his spacer. It must be quite scary to have this thing suddenly loom in front of their faces. Anyway, we used to 'give' her favourite teddy her inhaler before asking her to have a go with it. Ok so we had good days and bad days where we would give her inhalers while she was screaming her head off - not ideal but amazing how big a breath a crying child can take - or sing to her and even just let her play with everything so she got used to it all. Nowadays I would swear if she could depress the canister herself she would give herself her inhaler! She's quite good at taking the caps off and putting the inhaler and spacer together. I'd suggest just letting your little one play with the spacer, make it into a game where you put it to your face and then theirs, just briefly so they get used to it coming towards them. Then as they get used to it, you can progress to putting a puff of meds in and offer great praise whenever you can to encourage them. Best advice of all - don't stress yourself out about it. I worked myself up into such a state so many times when our little girl had her worst times that naturally she picked up on me being worried and distressed about her, so in turn she played up even more. It is all very worrying when your little baby is so ill. But with time and patience you will succeed.


Hi if you cover the spacer in his favourite stickers, and pretend to use and make it fun, it will get easier. My oldest hated his and was a nightmare but my youngest never had a problem and used from 6 months, think he knew the puffer made his lungs stop hurting.He used to grab it and hold it over his mouth, scary!

Also keep really calm when the attacks happen and tell them every thing is fine and you are there, they are safe, and keep calm, I really know how tough it is but doing this makes them feel relax and eases the asthma up. My brittle asthmatic has no allergies but goes under really quickly, I have had months of not sleeping because of this, it does get easier the older they get as they can help you out and tell you whats going on therefore easier to control. We have a pull out bed in my Sons room who is now 10 so if it all kicks off, I sleep in his room and can reassure him and give meds, he then tells me when he needs oxygen and we call 999.We had same problem of not properly diagnosing asthma, it took 9 years in the end, it's been one hell of a fight.

Take care

Kate x


Sorry to hear you're having such a hard time. As Rattles says, try not to get too stressed because your child will pick up on this. I remember my mum panicking when I had attacks as a child and it didnt help me at all. Now my son is asthmatic I know how she felt. But it does get easier as they get older - I still get upset of course but I know it will pass and my son will have good times again. Hang on in there and take care.



Sorry to hear you're having a hard time...a couple of ideas that might help.

Have you got a volumatic or an aerochamber. Volumatics are entirely transparent and might not be as frightening as the aerochamber? Let little 'un play with his asthma stuff, be elephants as looks like a trunk, make steam train noises, pretend to give it to his favourite toy- whatever works

Can you access a paediatric specialist asthma nurse? We're lucky to have a great team to access.

Look after yourself too and take care x


Oh Zoe, what a mare. We had the same thing with our son - couldn't diagnose him as asthma until he's 5 yr old because he can't do peak flow tests etc. But the resp nurse always says he has asthma, as do the GPS at our surgery! Anyway, re not liking the spacer, there are loads of posts about it, one recently with loads of good advice ""Inhaler and 10month old baby"" Some of the advice on there might help a bit. I added my own advice to it but forgot to add that most importantly don't try and give it in a rush or when you're stressed yourself.

Re your son's general health, I went to our resp nurse about our little boy with the same thing - general poor health, dark circles, pale, tried all the time, constant runny nose (which i thought were colds). I asked the same thing - is this what I am to expect for my boy just because he has asthma? And she reckons absolutely not! And also that his asthma was uncontrolled. She put him on an anti-histamine straight away as she suspected that the ""colds"" were rhinitis (which they were) and his symptoms improved ten-fold within a few weeks. People are constantly saying that his colour's changed and that he doesn't have dark circles any more etc. Is there anyone else that you could get a second opinion from about his treatment? He is on a steroid isn't he? Maybe there's a resp nurse connected to your surgery? Or a different GP? The asthma nurse on the advice here are also most excellent and will help you to gain a referral if that's what you want. Give them a try! xx


thank you all for your kind responses. I will make an appt with my doctor tomorrow and ask if an asthma nurse or similar is employed who I can talk to.

The spacer we have has teddies on it but he hates it anywhere near his face, he will hold it with no pump in the end and we talk into it and make it part of buzz's space stuff (his toy story mad!) but still no luck. Hopefully he will get used to it soon as he gets older but in the meantime I will take all of your advice onboard and mention to my Dr about the antihistamines too, that would help a lot if the runny nose would disappear!

Thanks again, it helps even just knowing other people are in the similar situations and dealing with it. I was starting to let myself get down and upset thinking he will always be like this. It just seems so much worse when its your baby suffering !




I am very sorry to hear about your son's asthma.

It is great that so many people have responded with suggestions. Here is mine: Have you tried using an medical grade air purifier at home? There are many studies that show how effective air purifiers can be. They make sure you are not exposed to particle pollution (dust, pet dander, mould, gases and fumes form paints, carpets etc.), which will make symptoms significantly worse.

All the best wishes,



Zoe - watch out for AllergyCosmos, I think he's a spammer. He's just sent me a private message with a link to his air purifier company website. Now there's a coincidence!!! Have reported him to the moderators.


hey, i myself was diagnosed with asthma aged two, yet before then my mum has told me i had asthma attacks ect and GP and hospital doctors would not pay attention. you need to see a pediatrics doctor, as they are trained in kids health, normal doctors usually specialise in adult health, same with nurses.


You may also like...