Does my child have asthma?

I have a 2.5yr old daughter, generally very healthy, very active, never short of breath, never wheezy, honestly this little girl runs everywhere and could spend all day on her trampoline if we let her.

She catches all the colds the seem to continually circulate amongst toddlers, but never seems adversly affected by them, other than a runny nose she continues to run around like normal.

For the past 3 months she has been waking up in the night with a cough. The coughing can go on for half an hour to an hour. The coughing attacks generally happen once to a few times a night, generally most nights.

Her mother has mild asthma, if she avoids dusty ennviroments (houses with cats) she rarely needs to take her inhaler.

We took her to to the doctor who suggested she may have asthma, and reffered us to an asthma clinic. At the clinic she was seen by a paediatrian, based on her symptoms, and her mothers asthma she was diagnosed with asthma and prescribed steroids and a reliever. Neither the paediatrician nor the doctor made any other examination or even listened to her chest.

Is this normal?

I was quite surprised by this diagnosis, I know in theory I should follow the advice of a doctor over that from an internet forum, but I'm really interested to hear other people's opinions and experiences.

I just don't want to be pumping drugs that may be unnecesary into her - we were told that we might not see and improvement until 8 weeks of treatment, if this is just a lingering cough it could well get better by itself in this time...

7 Replies

  • Sorry to hear that your daughter has been diagnosed with Asthma.

    Her symptoms do sound very like Asthma.

    If I was you, Id try the medications you have been prescribed and if you see improvement then it would certainly seem as if the diagnosis is correct.

    I was also told that if Ventolin works within the allotted time (5-20mins) then that too proves its an Asthma cough as opposed to anything else.

    Good luck.


  • If I were you I would follow the paediatrician's advice - they do not prescribe medication unless they think it's necessary. As Emily says, the reliever will help if it is asthma.

    I am surprised they didnt listen to her chest, my son's consultant always listens to his chest and examines him thoroughly on each visit. But the paediatrician who saw your daughter will have taken into account that one parent has asthma as there is a hereditary element to asthma, he will also have read the GP's report.

    Good luck and I hope things get sorted.

  • Does sound as though she could have asthma, little nutter started off with cough at night though this was always put down as croup. Hope the inhalers help as its awful being up all night with an ill child.

  • I would ring the Asthma UK help line for their advice because they are the experts :)

  • Follow your doctor's advice - they can't help you if you don't!

    Have you been asked to go back to see them after a certain time period? If so, then you are only looking at a course of medication that lasts that long in the first instance, after which they will be able to determine a more accurate diagnosis based on the results of their treatment.



  • Hiya Ruddock,

    I remember feeling very unsure at first about my lad's diagnosis of asthma. I kept thinking that perhaps I'd been over-cautious when describing what I thought were symptoms (it can be very, very hard to see it in a 2.5yr old - I know that very well too! The way I describe it is ""reading between the lines"") and indeed had the same concerns as you're having now. I have worked in the drugs industry and so even with a positive-insiders opinion on the safety and benefit of medications, it still seemed to go against my instincts as a parent. I worried about side effects especially because my lad had allergies and then seemed to have developed allergic disease - asthma. But, the steroids turned my lad's life around very quickly and now I panic the other way (with daft neurotic parent imagination!)- what if there was a disaster and I didn't have enough for him? My lad has also been hospitalised and I think that when you go through something like that then you really appreciate the opinion of paediatricians as they see so many, many children and have a much broader experience than I had to base an opinion on. Am I making sense?

    I can only reiterate what everyone else has said - give the diagnosis and medication a chance and see if it makes a difference to your little one.


  • Just thought I'd follow this up, given it's now nearly two years on, and my 2.5yr old year old girl is now nearly 4.5.

    We followed the advice, and used the steroid inhaler, one puff twice a day. After a few weeks the night time cough went away. After about 6 months, all seemed well, and on the advice of the Asthma nurse we stopped using the inhaler. For the past year, she has been totally free of asthma medication and has no asthma-like symptoms.

    Whether or not that coughing episode was asthma related or not I'm not convinced, I hope not. Just glad all is okay right now.

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