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5 year old on PREDNISOLONE for 2nd time

My daughter is on a 5 day course of prednisolone having had another sudden flare up which we suspect was triggered by something she ate like the first time she had prednisolone in December when she ate sweets at a party. She and her sister, also asthmatic have artificial colourings, especially yellow, as a trigger.

Despite me checking the ingredients, they both had a new chinese treat on Wednesday lunchtime, a sort of biscuit/cracker covered in sesame seeds given to us to try amongst other things as it is the chinese new year. As I said I checked the ingredients which were in English and did not list colourings and 24 hours later both children had asthma coughs, my eldsests slightly in the morning and evening and my poor youngest worse and then woke this morning and had a terrible time and as I said is now on the prednisolone. They have no other cold/virus symptoms so we assume it was the food especially as I discovered E102 was in the fortune cookies they were also given and stopped them eating them (the cracker things were the same colour), They didn't even like them and only ate a tiny amount. Good job really.

The reason for my writing is that the dose of prednisolone is different this time. I have a new baby whom I did not want to take in a surgery full of germs and so Dad took her to the GP and I have been plaguing him with questions he cannot answer. In December the dose was given (by A&E) for 4 days and I kept the box with the dosage on and today the GP has kept it and I stupidly did not write it down anywhere else!

Today she was given a 5 day dose of 4 5mg tablets.

Does this sound normal for her age (6 next week - am hoping she will be better for her Birthday)

Finally, looking some of the entries I notice quite a few people are affected by the red/pink colour. So far my daughter seems o.k with it. There was mention of a white alternative. Does anyone have the details of this in case I get problems in the future? When she saw the hosp consultant on 2nd Jan he prescribed singulair tablets instead of her usual granules and these had a colour in them and we opted not to give them and ordered granules again being white.

WHY DO THEY INSIST ON PUTTING COLOURS IN EVERYTHING?????? Don't even start me on antibiotics when they have a chest infection etc

Anyway, off to bed now to try to get some sleep which with a newborn and my poor daughter doesn't look very achievable!!

12 Replies

Hi Barbara

I'm sorry to hear that you're having such a rough time at the moment - newborn baby and a poorly child - EEK!!!

Anyway - my son who's 3 1/2 - tends to have depending on who prescribes it (hosp or GP)

3 days - 4 x 5 mg tablets daily

5 days - 4 x 5mg tablets daily

So that sounds about right (although i'm no expert)

I know it's horrible for them to have to take - last year Ollie had it for 3 months in a row and this winter had to have a 6/7 day course.

I hope that helps and i hope that you get some sleep!!!!!



Hi Barbara,

You are right there is a white version of prednisolone tablets, they are the non enteric coated ones. I'm always prescribed the white ones as I'm allergic to food colourings too!

Sorry I'm not really sure about the dosage tho as I was diagnosed with asthma at 18 and not sure about children's doses. I know in the past though I've had doses ranging from 30mg to 50mg depending on who has prescribed them and how poorly I've been.

Hope your little one is soon feeling better

Sparkly Fairy



Thank you for the messages.

As you can see i didn't get much sleep, she woke at 1am with her asthma cough bad and it has got steadily worse. Dad has just taken her to A&E after much discussion though we are anxious as it is likely to be full of drunks on a Friday night and we hope childrens A&E is still open and they can give her a nebuliser. This worked wonders when she had her last bad attack on 3rd December and her school had to call an ambulance (after eating the sweets at a party). She isn't as bad yet as that time but she is still pretty bad, coughing so much now she is nearly being sick.

Sparkly Fairy, you are the first person I have come across who has a reaction to artificial colours. My husband and I are both fine - our girls are the only asthmatics in the family though there are other allergies on their Dads side.

I am feeling very guilty now, firstly for giving her the chinese food if it is that caused it and secondly for not taking her to A&E. Her Dad is much calmer though - I am sitting here now in tears wondering where it all went wrong.

Having just had my 3rd baby I also feel guilty because I was unable to feed them myself and as many people have pointed out there is a link with asthma here. I tried really hard with the eldest 2 (didn't even try with no.3 as I was effectively starving the others) I fel a complete failure as a mother.

She misses so many things too, school which she loves, she missed all the end of christmas term and making things, her Christmas dancing concert when she should have been Angelina Ballerina and worn a tu-tu and tomorrow she was to meet the mayor at our local library and get a prize and a certificate as a drawing she had done had won a prize in a competition. I feel so bad for her missing everything.

I know though, there are people a lot, lot worse off with their asthma but I feel so helpless when she has an attack and her Dad is so calm about it and I get in a state, though I try not to let her see it, especially now existing on very little sleep with a newborn anyway. Usually i catch up during the day but she was bad all day and I couldn't as she was home.

Should be catching up now but am so upset | can't sleep. When we saw the hosp consultant on the 2nd Jan he described why she coughs and doesn't wheeze because her airway literally has not enough air in it for her to wheeze and I feel useless when I can't bring it under control with the ventolin. I know she has only just begun the steroids and still has a further 4 doses but I hope we have done the right thing in seeking out the nebuliser - she has had 18 puffs of ventolin today since 7am. It was a bitof a shock as there was a definite improvemnt before bedtime when she took the first dose of steroid tablets (at 6 pm) and she went from 9pm (coughing a lot before falling asleep in a sitting position) till 1am without incident.

Anyway, I shall try to get some rest now and hope that it is all going well at the hosp and there are sensible staff on who recognise asthma symptoms as including a cough!


on nebuliser at A&E

I just got a text and A&E have seen her already and a putting her on a nebuliser as I write. I hope this will help her - it did lastitme and she was a lot worse. This is only the 2 d time she has used one. Trying to be positive that was the good that came out of her bad attack at school when they needed to phone an ambulance - she had a sudden attack in the middle of class - she had eaten sweets at a party 24 hours earlier wothout my knowledge - she owned up to it at home .

I just wish we got to a nebuliser earlier today but advice was that it worked much the same as her ventolin and spacer and steroid tablets would sort it.

It has been a long day - it all kicked off at 7am and she didn't get to see a Dr till 4:30pm though I sought advice on the phone several times.

Shall try to get some rest before they come back (she was discharged very quickly in Dec. as it worked wonders) but baby is due a feed in approx 30 mins so perhaps not!


My son has had food and additive allergies from birth. he is atopic ( has eczema ashtma nd hayfever) he cannot have any additives nor e numbers etc. we have never been able to narrow it down to which specfic ones so have always had to avoid them all.

At school we use to give the teacher a bag of his treats he could have and they would keep them in so that when kids bought in sweets or food for birthdays she could give him something he could have.

For parties I would always make him his own plate of food. If they were using party plates I would get one from the parent beforehand so he could be the same as much as possible or transfer his food when we got there.

In the end he got very wise as he got fed up of reactions and having to cope with being covered in hives or his asthma reacting.

He is 13 now and not as sensitive but still has to avoid most things. Hes never had fizzy drinks, sweets etc and until last few years chocolate ( he now manages the odd cadburys button or too.) It has meant he has had a healthy diet and doesnt seem to miss things as what you havent had you cant miss. He has been lucky he can tolerate dairy and some things other kids cant.

The food companys have come a long way since we started with it, I know companys like birds eye and most of the big supermarkets do kids ranges using only natural addtives/preservatives which does make life easier.

As for prednisolone you will find doctors vary on dosage and length of time given and have to way up how the child is when giving out the medication.

As for addtives in medication , we have had no end of problems I know the drug companys add things to make kids meds taste and look nice but again they are getting wise and there is more rules now to safe guard what is put in them. Its always worth sticking to the same pharmacist and getting to know them so they can flag up anything that the gp may have missed when prescribing.

You may find this site useful for information on allergy

This is a list of addtives , e numbers which may help you

Allergy UK are very helpful.


Hi Barbara,

I really hope the nebuliser improved your daughters breathing and that she is back home now. It must be really difficult juggling a new baby and two asthmatic children.

I've been allergic to artificial colourings and some natural colourants such as Anatto all my life although the way in which I'm affected has changed as I've got older. As a child I suffered with eczema and hyperactivity from the colourings, cutting them out improved things dramatically and when I hit my teens I was able to have things such as sweets and fizzy drinks in small doses. Following a bad viral infection I was diagnosed with asthma at 18 and my allergies became much worse. I have carry epi-pens and take large doses of anti-histamines every day and I must say in the last 18mths things have begun to improve again.

Like Speedy's son I used to have my own treat bag at school for when it was someones birthday and I knew what were my 'no no' foods as I used to call them!

I completely agree with you - why do they put colourings in everything?! With regards to anti-biotics I can't have any capsules which are coloured and have sometimes had to split them open and put the powder in yoghurt, but I did eventually discover that Augmentin Duo is a white syrup and although it does have flavourings in it I've always got on well with it, though the pharmacists sometimes query it because it's usually for children hehe!

Anyway, I just wanted you to know you're not alone, there are lots more of us out there who can't have colourings, for me orange, red and yellow are worst but I try to avoid all of them if I can and make all my food from scratch when possible. It's been challenging as a student and I understand now how hard it must have been for my mum shopping for me when I was little!

If you have any questions or just want to chat feel free to pm me.

I hope your little girl is feeling better,


Sparkly Fairy


Dear Barbara

I hope that you are feeling a bit better today - 3 -4 am is a horrible time to be feeling so low and so divided. It must be really tough having 2 asmatic children and a newborn - the sleep deprivation alone takes it's toll. But please try not to feel bad about not breast feeding your children. Not all women are able to do it whether they want to or not. Unfortunately there is so much pressure about 'breast being best' now that it makes women who can't do it feel bad. I breast fed Ollie and he has asthma - excama and hay fever - no other allergies that we know off. This was my main reason for doing it and in the end i had to stop as he was not gaining weight. But h.visitor and breast feeding nurses still told me that i should persevere and try not to supliment with formula (you'd have thought i was suggesting giving him poison by some of their responses) - in the end it was no good to either of us - i ended up looking skelital and he wasn't gaining weight and also don't think it made a jot of difference. None of my friends who never fed have any problems with thier children - they're all healthy and haven't ended up in hospital as much as we have.

I hope that your daughter is feeling better after her neb. I'm glad that your husband is able to remain calm - mine does too - although i sometimes find it frustrating that he's able to take it all in his stride whilst i'm a wreck!!! Try not to feel guilty - asthma is a tricky thing to get right - sometimes things just go pear shaped - we were in hospital 7/8 times last year from 1 night to 7 - it was really hard - every time we thought we had it sussed something else happened.

Also don't feel bad about the food - you can only really go with what's on the labels and your own judgement - hey i didn't even realise it was Chinese New Year!!!!

I know it's hard when they aren't well and you feel like they are missing out - but hey you're only human - give yourself a break - i'm sure you are a really good mum - as i say not only did you know it was Chinese New Year but you had appropriate food!!!!!

Please try not to beat yourself up.

Take care of yourself





Thank you all....

a huge thank you for all your lovely messages. She is a lot better now - watching TV as she slept all afternoon and her sleep pattern is upside down! She is a little pale and has shadows under her eyes but luckily it is half term here and so she can have a nice quiet week to recover. When she was given the steroid tablets in December we were told to keep her away from large crowds of people eg, shopping and school until 1 day after the course finished as it would make her immunity low so I will follow this advice again and as I say have a nice quiet week and hopefully she will be recovered in time for her birthday (she is having a small party with her cousins and a few friends but luckily it is in a place where we just turn up and they do the lot - and I know she can have all the food!!!!)

I will look on all the links that were sent - thank you so much for those. Usually we manage fine with the foods - her sister now 9 reacted to colourings from the age of 21/2 and like sparkly fairy yellow is a very bad one. We tend to always be very careful - the last 2 incidents with my 6 year old were accidents. She 'sneaked' some sweets and the Chinese food was labelled but perhaps not completely. I didn't know it was Chinese New Year either - the food was given to us by a friend to try. There was a lot of it they couldn't have - the fortune cookies had E102, sweets and bits were loose and unlabelled and so discarded and the thing they ate was the 1 thing we thought they could try. It was labelled in English but was obviously a chinese product with far more writing in that language on it so perhaps this is why any colourings were omitted if indded it was that. We shall have to be extra careful in future as my 6 year old reacts far worse than her sister did and 24 hours later. I know at her age my 9 year old sneaked the occasional thing (only once or twice) and she used to be sick in 30 minutes with a night asthma cough and I suppose they learn the hard way that once or twice not to do it .

Anyway, once again thanks for all the messages of support. I feel a lot better today despite my 6 year old not sleeping till 6:30am though as I say she caught up this afternoon! I managed an hour - who said newborns sleep all day??

I am very lucky in that their Dad works close to home and for a family business and is a great support especially being so calm. He can even sleep through all the coughing (she can cough when sleeping for ages) whereas I wake at the slightest noise! I hope you and yours stay in good health and the chickenpox isn't too much of a problem. My 2 both had it when my 9 year old was 1st diagnosed with asthma just after she made a poor recovery from a tonsillectomy - my 6 year old was a baby and it was a nightmare - she then caught it despite numerous Drs saying babies have immunity. My eldest then began asthma and rhinitus, it is thought because her immune system had taken a battering though now her sister has similar symptoms at a similar age so who knows?


Hi barbara

glad to hear that all is well and that you're feeling far more chipper today!!!! As i say 3 - 4 am is not a nice time to be awake!!!!

Ollie's c.pox isn't too bad - the priton seems to be stopping too much scratching!!!! And he hasn't got too many spots all over the place - although he's a nightmare trying to put on the calamine!!!!!!

Well i'm unusually relaxing and having a glass of cold white wine!!!!! Not a good idea as i'm allergic/intoleratnt to wine and will probably end up all bunged up and red nosed - but hey ho at least i'll have a good nights sleep!!!!

Hope you get to catch up on your sleep and that you little one continues to get better.

Take care



p.s. what is your baby - boy or girl!!!



I have 3 girls now!

Bicarbonate of soda dissolved in the bath is fantastic for stopping itching.

You can get it on the bakery section of shops and I used to use about half a tub. It was very hot when my two had it which made the itching worse and it was fantastic and is failrly inexpensive and not messy!


Hi Barbara

Thanks for that - i'll give it a go!!!

3 girls - wow - i'm the middle of 3 girls!!!

Hope your little ones better now.

take care





I'm not a parent or carer but wanted to let you know that your daughters cough symptom is the same as mine. I had that cough from when I was 7 or 8, most often triggered by colds/viruses, a barking cough, and coughing that much I was nearly sick. I was only diagnosed when I was 19 when by chance I changed doctors. But in between I missed lots of school events due to colds/viruses I couldn't shift, and having no puff to do anything but I can't really say I missed not being able to go. When your breathing is bad you are just so grateful to be breathing everything else takes second place.

I can understand your worry about people not recognising the cough as asthma. If you do have to deal with any of them stand your ground.

I'm 40 this week and my mum still finds it hard to have to listen to me cough my lungs up. I've only just recovered from a chest infection that I had for a month, and which included a morning in A&E on 4 rounds of nebulisers, 2 strong courses of antibiotics and a 5 day course of prednisolone (6 x 5mg). It was the pred that finally got me back on my feet.

I pray that your daughter is doing OK for now.


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