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babies 1st attack! left worried,paranoid etc !!! any tips???

hi everyone. im very much green when it comes to Asthma & really do not know what it involves so any tips/opinions appreciated. my daughter ( 12months old ) has had colds recently ( they have all come on when we'v been away & staying in hotels with carpet..we dont have carpet at home...maybe coincedence?) ..anyway they have varied in terms of being heavy but on thur she had a runny nose & by fri morning was wheezing. She very suddenly struggled for breath,went red/purple faced & then was rushed to GP ( had nebiliser ) & was sent to a&e. by the time we got to a&e she was very much stuggling, her breathing was beyond laboured & she was stiff looking with eyes rolling in her head, purple faced... she was put on oxygen/neb/I.V fluids & later improved. Dr's later said her oxgen levels were very low & they were concerned that her heartrate was 200+ ( & was difficult to stabilise) ..... anyway eventually we were told she had Broncolitis which tiggered an asthma type attack & she is now at a predisposition of having asthma ( too early to tell ) . She is now discharged & at home with atrovent preventer inhaler. i am completly paranoid & listening to her breathing ALL the time... if she rapid breaths i almost go into cardiac myself! they told me to leg it to a&e if her breathing goes back to the way it was !!! any tips appreciated on how to prevent episodes, dust? and wheither ye have experienced this yerselves??? thanks in advance

3 Replies

Bree - welcome but im sorry to hear your little one has been so poorly, i hope she is feeling much better now?

It is scary when your child is unwell as you feel so hopeless.

As you dont have carpets theri could be a link but im not in any position to say but i know from experience that i am worse in carpeted places as the do seem to retain more dust and its even worse if they are new as i think they let off other chemicals as well. You can always damp dust your house, hoover matresses and use anti- allergy bedding if you feel you want to do more at home. It does sound like your daughter attack may have been triggered by her broncioloitis as any viruses could be a trigger but their could be an allergic link too but its stil very early days.

My son also had a simialr illness at 6 weeks old and i was told much the same but he is now a very healthy non asthmatic boy despite having both a sister and a mother who is asthmatic so itsnt written in stone.

Right i wil stop rambling and hopefully one of the more qualifed old hands will be around soon.


Hi Bree,

I'm very sorry to hear that your daughter has been so unwell, it must have been a terrifying and stressful time of it for you. I hope she's continuing to improve. As I'm sure you've been told, your daughter will have to be a bit older before most doctors will be happy to make a formal diagnosis of asthma, but having had this severe wheezy episode in the context of an infection certainly does put her at higher risk.

I don't really have much in the way of specific advice, as I don't have children myself or much experience of asthma in children. Just to say, though, that the vast majority of people with asthma can be almost completely controlled and lead normal lives. It's easy to get the opposite impression from reading these boards, because they do tend to attract a disproportionate number of people with severe asthma, but some of the things that you will read about on here are definitely not the norm. If your daughter does go on to develop asthma, there is a very good chance that you can learn to control the symptoms with the right combination of medication, so that she can have a normal life.

Treating young children with asthma has its own special challenges, and we have a number of mums to children with asthma of varying severities on here. If you have any specific questions about the ins and outs of treatment, do feel free to ask - I am sure someone will be able to try to help you. Of course, one of the main problems with very young children is that they can't necessarily recognise when they are deteriorating or tell you when they are breathless. I know most mums say that it takes them a little while to learn their own child's individual signs that they are struggling - children are great ones for battling on regardless when their chests are really quite bad! Hopefully, though, you will quickly get to know that there are subtle signs that you can pick up earlier on that will give you some warning, so that you can treat the attack without it getting to the severe stage. I have heard parents talk about their child playing less, or playing with different things, becoming less chatty, scratching or pulling at their face, neck or chest, etc. These little early warning signs tend to be different in different children, and they can be very useful in predicting when things are about to deteriorate.

It's worth discussing with your GP, if you haven't already, what sort of signs to look out for in young children that indicate that things are getting very bad. The following are all signs that should be taken very seriously and should trigger seeking emergency medical help:

- rapid respiratory rate

- too breathless to talk, feed or sleep

- using extra muscles in the neck or shoulders to breathe

- flaring of the nostrils with each breath

- retraction (pulling in) of the trachea (at the front of the base of the neck), in between the ribs, or the stomach with each breath

- grunting with each breath

- bluish discoloration of the skin

- altered conscious level or drowsiness

This isn't an exclusive list, so if your daughter doesn't have any signs that are on the list but you are concerned, you should still seek help urgently by dialling 999 for an ambulance. No-one will (or should, anyway) criticise you for calling an ambulance if you are worried, even if it turns out that your daughter is okay. It sounds like she was very poorly this time, and sometimes time is of the essence in getting treatment.

In terms of triggers like house dust mites in carpets, animals, and so on, again it will probably take time for you to learn what affects your daughter most. In adults, allergy tests are sometimes done to try to work out what is causing the problems. I am not sure whether they are routinely done on children as young as your daughter, there is some controversy about whether they are safe and useful at that age.

Has she just been given the Atrovent to use at the moment? Have you been given salbutamol (Ventolin) as an inhaler or syrup to be used as a reliever if she does become wheezy again, or have you just been told to go straight to A&E? This might be worth discussing with your GP - often using salbutamol at home can be quite effective to prevent things deteriorating, and it could certainly be of use to use while waiting for the ambulance to arrive if she does have another severe attack.

I know this must feel a bit overwhelming at the moment, and I can't really imagine how scary it must be to wonder if she is going to have another episode. Hopefully now that you and the doctors have identified and are aware of the problem, it will be a bit more managable. As I said, if in doubt, always call for help - by dialing 999 if necessary.

Take care

Em H


hi. thanks you both so much for your replies. It gives me a clearer picture of how things work . Emily thanks a million for giving so much detail. As you can imagine im fairly worried ( dd has been ill since Dec with what was thought was adenovirus so this just seems to be another hurdle )so its as if i expect something else to happen again ... i just cant seem to get her fully better no matter what ( she has the best diet EVER!! )... she hasnt had any antibiotics as thought to be viral & no steroids for the attack as Dr's were concerned about her fast heart rate ( took 36hrs to drop to a comfortable level & felt steroids may worsen this.

at the min im giving her atrovent x2 three times daily, shes asleep right now but the streaming eyes has started again & has very slight wheeze in chest .... if it gets heavyier il bring her to Gp in the afternoon for Neb! thanks again girls, i really appreciated you taking the time to reply.


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