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10 year old, newly diagnosed

HI all.

I'm posting, having read some of the discussions in this forum.

You're all having to cope with such young children who've been diagnosed! I think I'm very fortunate.


My son is 10 years old.

Has frequent colds that often settle on his chest. BUT he normally gets better within a week, so (up til recently) neither my ex-husband nor I have taken him to the doctor with them.

I took him about a year ago because he had a chest infection that wouldn't go. Antibiotics given along with an inhaler ""just in case"". In case of what? I wondered, and put the inhaler in a cupboard and it was soon forgotten about.

Anyway, recently he had another cold that turned into a chest infection but it seemed to be taking it out of Son, so I took him to GP. (NB: In the 6 years of living in this town, I've never seen the same GP twice - it's a large, teaching practice and docs come and go).

GP seemed tetchy with me. Said Son had a ""viral wheeze"" (and what is that, exactly? He never did really explain it), an URTI (upper respiratory tract infection, apparently) and gave us steroids and an inhaler. Said antibiotics weren't necessary.

I was worried about giving a kid steroids, but was told in no uncertain terms they were essential - was also told that often children who have frequent chest infections have asthma. So I asked if Son might have asthma and was told ""no. He has a viral wheeze"".

Anyway, the steroids worked and he used his inhaler once or twice after activity. Within a week he was fine.

For 3 weeks. Then he got a cold that went STRAIGHT to his chest. On hearing the wheeze/crackle, I got him to the docs the next morning.

Saw a different GP who measured his blood oxygen with the finger-thing, listened to his chest and then told me straight out ""He has asthma"".

I was STUNNED! I mean, he's 10. I thought people with asthm can't breathe. That their lips turn blue and that they can die. I thought about Marmalade Atkins (betraying my age) aka Charlotte Coleman.

And I thought - but that's not my kid. The only time he gets a wheeze is when he's already got a chest infection.

In fairness to the GP, he had a brief chat about possible triggers (no more smoking in the house, even when Son is not in, pets might have to be rehomed, we should get anti-allergy bedding and remove all carpets), told me I should get up in the night to check on Son's breathing and that he was very worried.

Then he shooed us out the door.

Leaving me in shock and also very worried! My son was very upset at first, especially about the possiblity of us losing all our family pets. He was worried he'd die (thanks GP, for mentioning the possibility of death in front of a 10 year old!)... After a LOT of reassurance he was ok. Ish.

We go back in 2 days, once the antibiotics have got rid of the chest infection. From what I could gather, he'll test Son somehow to confirm the diagnosis. Then ""if we want"" we can have hospital tests done to determine the triggers. (""If"" we want - of course we want! Good grief).

And I'm left with a TON of questions and worries. The main one being; if Son only gets symptoms (cough, wheeze and breathlessness) when he's already got a chest infection how the heck are we supposed to know what is infection and what is asthma??

Just - does anyone have any advice??

6 Replies

ok so i am only a child myself 15, but there is a possibility that the infections can trigger the asthma so this may be why he is wheezing. as i am normally a non-wheezer and i only wheeze when i get really bad, however your son seems to have wheezing as his main symptom.

hope that he gets better soon :)

also hope that you do find out his triggers.

all the best Jess x


Dear Charliemouse

I have found in my case that taking a good dose of vitamin C every single day, prevents chest infections.

Hope this helps,



My daughter's (who's now 21 but has been asthmatic since childhood) consultant told her that asthma now comes in three types, exercise induced, allergic and then infection based. My daughter has all three kinds but lots of people only have one kind. If your son doesn't react around the family pets when he's fit and well then he may well be ok with them and not be allergic to them.

Is there an asthma nurse at your practise? If there is s/he should be able to write you an action plan. This will tell you what signs to look for and what actions to take. But in my experience as a parent of asthmatic kids (my 19 year old was an asthmatic too) you soon learn what to look for and so does the child. Cathy is pretty good at distinguishing between her normal asthma cough and an infection cough.


No need to panic on the pet issue. If the wee lad has been fine with them up to now, there is no need to worry. My friend was told the same thing when her daughter was first diagnosed at 10. Needless to say, having always had a houseful of cats, they worried at first then common sense kicked in. No extra wheezing when the cats were around. Cats cuddled as usual.

Sounds as if your GP practice is like mine. Never see the same person twice. Do you know you can email or phone AUK's asthma nurses - number at top left hand corner of this page. I found them very helpful when diagnosed with asthma and not a lot of help from GPs.


'10 year old, newly diagnosed'

Hi, my son was diagnosed around the age of 6 and given a blue inhaler which we never used untill a couple of weeks ago (now aged 11). He has always had hay fever and now this seems to be setting off his Asthma. They say around 10 or 11 years of age symtoms can get worse. Colds make my son worse also. It is very difficult to tell how much of it is the asthma and how much the cold. Like you I am very confused and worried constantly listening for coughs ect. I have now been given a brown steroid inhaler for my son which my partner does not want him to have and I don't know what to do.

I hope you get some answers soon and your son gets relief. With Love Anna



My sons 3 and has the same thing, I'm told by some doctors he does NOT have asthma he has viral wheeze (but he could develop asthma), other's say he has asthma.. from what I gather viral induced wheeze IS Asthma, but only when they have a viral infection.. so the infection is the trigger (someone correct me if I'm wrong). We also never get to see the same doctor, some don't seem concerned at all, others really worry me telling me it's really serious etc.. but I think the most important thing either way is to stay calm, and do what you think is right. You know your child better than anyone, so if you think he needs to be seen take him to doc's. As far as I'm concerned it doesn't matter whether he has the label ""asthma"" or not, as long as the symptoms are managed. I was told If he's breathless or wheezing give him the inhaler.. as much as he needs, if it doesn't help or he needs it more than 4 puffs every 4 hours to get his breathing under control, take him to docs asap.

Hope you get some answers soon, I know how hard and confusing it can be, especially when the doctors who supposed to know what they're doing can't make their minds up, and keep giving you different answers! Good Luck!


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