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Any tips on how to help wheezing and coughing overnight in particular please.

My son has had an inhaler for about a year - but certainly doesn't need it all the time - I haven't really been told very much by the doctor. I don't know if it's a preventative thing that he should have all the time even if he doesn't need it or if it's just something for when he's wheezy.

He's in good health normally with no other health issues. But when he has a cold or chest infection, it goes straight to his chest and he's very wheezy and coughy.

I would love to know some tips for helping him sleep with the wheezing. Also should I be giving him his inhaler as a precautionary thing at set times during the day? I prop his bed up, and use vicks on his chest and back as he currently has a blocked nose which isn't helping, he is having paracetamol.

What about the windows? The heating isn't on at the moment, should he be sleeping with the window open a bit or closed? Is it better for him to have the heating on and be warmer or fresher with the window open and no heating?

Any help I would be really grateful for.


12 Replies

Sorry to hear about your son. My 13 yr old son also has asthma - has had it since a baby - and colds always make his asthma worse. You ask about the inhaler - has the GP given you instructions for use? Also there will be an instruction leaflet with the inhaler and that will tell you what it is for (preventer or reliever). But if you are unsure what to do and concerned about your son's health, you should really go back to your GP.

Re. open/shut windows at night, I think it is really a matter of what suits the individual best. I don't have windows open at night (except in hot weather) because the cold air or even a slight draught, makes me and my son sneeze which brings on our asthma! (I have asthma too). But I sometimes open the window for my son when he is coughing at night, just for a few minutes, to let in fresh air.

Coughing a lot makes my son thirsty so he always has a bottle of water by his bedside. I also give him warm milk (sometimes with a bit of honey in it) and he finds that soothing. Again it is an individual thing, and you really have to try different things to find what helps and what doesnt.

Good luck and I hope things improve for him.

1 like

I am not in the UK, but I have a similar concern and while seeking answers online, I saw this forum and really appreciate the advices given here. I have a 3y.o son who coughs like crazy whenever I close all his room windows at nights. I live in Jamaica, so it's mostly really hot here and some nights are cooler than some. However, no matter how cold or hot the night, I have to leave at least 1 of his windows open, as he never sleeps without coughing terribly. I am wondering if it is possible he is asthmatic. I will be taking him to the doctor soon, but just wanted to know first, if this is common for asthmatic persons. From what I've read here, every asthmatic person reacts differently to different things. Thanks, Angievere.


Dear Tromnat, this post was written 6 years ago. If your son is coughing a lot at night it is best to consult a doctor. I hope things improve for him. Best wishes.


put somthing under bed to raise his head.better than extra pillows and wont get neck ache x


Sorry to hear about your son.

On a positive note my son was the same for months and our new GP put him back on the green inhaler as he was on it over the winter last year and then earlier this year old doctor took it off him We are now 1 month into using the green inhaler again and night cough and wheezy have stopped. Just got him sorted during the day again. Know he is back at school his asthma has gone during the day. Another visit to the doctors next week I think


my son is 6 and last winter i had the same trouble, he is a heavy sleeper and it doesnt really wake him he just seemed to cough more when he was flat, i was given a triangle sloped pillow that was bought for an elderly persons legs, im terrible at describing things i hope you can see what i mean, so now hes at an angle like on the hospital bed frame his cough is eased during the night.



I never slept through a night because of my asthma cough until I got a preventer inhaler (medium strength), my cough started to improve after 2 days and after 10 days the cough had gone :)

I took one puff in the morning and one before bedtime.

I now only use it when I need to.

I hope this helps you.


air quality

do you live on a main road? is his bedroom window face the street? is his window open at night?

i used to sleep in a room facing the street, now i moved to the back of the house facing the garden. i tried lots of different things and turned out that moving to the back of the house away from the street was the better idea.

spend a week or two trying out different things that i tried

-window left open at night

-window left closed at night

-window open bedroom door open

-window open bedroom door closed (worked for me)

-window closed bedroom door open

-window closed bedroom door closed

-have a plant or two in the room (they give off oxygen)

if bedroom faces the street move into a room away from street and try the above things or vice versa if you think it could make a difference.

hopes this helps

best regards


sounds like he may have a releiver inhaler (is it blue?)

it may be worth a visit to GP just to let him know whats happening with ur sons asthma, and he may wish to start him on a preventer inhaler.


Hello newbie, sorry to hear that your little one's poorly.

The first thing that sprung to my mind was how long has he been wheezing and coughing at night time? Or is it just something that's started at the moment because he has a cold? Either way it would be a good idea to take him back to a GP - probably a different one to the one before as it doesn't sound as though they're particularly knowledgeable or they would have told you what to do and would also have wanted to follow him up! If it is a constant thing - every night then it's important that your doctor knows this information as it's a very big clue to it being asthma and they may want to prescribe him a preventer to use every day. If it's because he has a cold then the doctor should a have a listen to his chest to make sure that he doesn't have a chest infection that might need antibiotics.

The second thing was what colour is his inhaler? And what name does it have on it? From this you can deduce whether it's a reliever or a preventer.

It really sounds as though you need to go back to the doctor. You might also find it useful to ask if the surgery has a respiratory/asthma/inhaler specialist nurse attached to the surgery. Our's is absolutely fab and she has made our life very easy since my son was diagnosed. We're lucky to have good gps too.

Hope you have a better night tonight! When my lad gets like that I don't just prop his head up, I sit him almost bolt upright and lodge him between loads of pillows to keep him there! I have even resorted to sitting up next to him to keep propping him up when lolling over, just so that he can get a good night's sleep and get better.

And lastly (sorry to go on :O) but it's really important that you use the inhaler at the correct dose for his age - another reason to get back to the docs.

Good luck! xx


get him to breathe through his nose

If your son is wheezing and coughing at night then he is breathing too heavily (maybe even not noticeably) during the day. Does he ever breathe through his mouth? Known cause of hyperventilation, wheezing and coughing. Our breathing rate increases when we lie down (many people do a lot of propping as the other posters advised). Encourage your son to cough with his mouth closed as this reduces the volume of breath out and back in again. It reduces the tickle. Won't work really at night, best start during the day.

although this sounds like it is impossible, if there is no structural (eg deviated septum from an injury) then your son could maintain his nose clear by breathing through it. google ""buteyko nose unblocking"" and there are several sites there that show how to do it. Encourage your son to breathe through his nose, it makes a vital difference to all children, unfortunately many now habitually mouth breathe. We should not mouth breathe at all.

Encourage your son to put his tongue into the roof of his mouth. This is where our tongues should be. It ensures nasal breathing (as we cannot breathe through our tongue). Make sure your son keeps his lips together at rest as this also helps jaw formation and breathing.

For improved sleep keep the heating turned off in the bedroom. a cool bedroom is generally far better for sleeping. Do not have a big meal just before going to bed (hard sometimes with busy kids lives), sleep on the left side or right side (not back). If your son breathes through his nose then eventually cold air will no longer set him off by day or night as our bodies were designed to sleep outdoors while nasal breathing to maintain body heat)

Buteyko should learned directly from a practitioner and in consultation with and approval your supportive medical team.


Have you tried a humidifier in your son's bedroom? I have just bought one from Argos for £30 and it is very quiet. You need to choose one that is suitable for the room size. It is worth a try.


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