Asthma UK community forum

unsure what to do

Hello everyone. I'd like to explain and ask for advice about me and my 9 year old son please.

Me - Every 3 or 4 months I get coughing fits. No shortness of breath, they don't get any worse when I'm more active. Coughing usually continues and gets worse making me be sick ( clear gooey stuff ). Sometimes it only last a couple of weeks then I'm fine for a few months. If I get a cold then I'm always left with a very bad cough for a few weeks after that too.

Right now I've been coughing for about 4 weeks. I'm tired of people staring. I'm 34 and tired of feeling and looking like a 80 year old woman.

Today the doctor gave me a peak flow meter. I'm not sure how long I have to fill it in for, but I'll contact them in a few weeks or something...

Now to the tricky part. My 9 year old son has been off school for 4 weeks now. He started getting headaches, then was sick each night when he went to bed.

This then changed into him being sick just about all the time. He wouldn't eat, whenever he drunk water it'd come back up...

2 weeks ago he went to the doctors who said he had a viral infection. 1 1/2 paraceats every 4 hours...

This week and he's much better. He's stopped being sick but is now left with a very bad cough. He gets very out of breath when he goes upstairs to the loo and has to sit down until his breathing has calmed down enough to come back downstairs.

So today he came to the doctors with me. I explained his symptoms, doctor listened to his chest. Said he's perfectly fine and there's nothing to treat but I should carry on with the paraceats.

We go back to the car (my mum took us), and my son starts having one of his breathing fits. Coughing and couldn't get his breath.

I know what I should have done. I should have gone back into the doctors and asked him to come and look at him. But I didn't :( With the doc saying he's fine I felt a bit foolish.

I'm worried about the time off from school. But as it stands now my son can't walk to the end of the street without having to sit down and catch his breath. We tried it yesterday!

I'm worried about the lack of concern from the doctors. If the viral infection and symptoms are over now then why is he having breathing difficulties now?

There's certainly something wrong with him and I just don't know what to do.

My brother has asthma, wheezing, coughing and being sick. I don't know much about it although he's on 2 inhalers (a brown one and a blue one). With the doctor giving me a peak flow meter today, it's starting to look like I have some kind of asthma too.

But with my son I really don't know what to do or what to say other than if he walks anywhere he gets out of breath and then sounds like bag-pipes when he sleeps.

Either we're going to have a really bad ""not being able to breathe"" episode one night and end up phoning for an ambulance, or the school bobby is going to turn up and cart me away for all the time off school he's had.

Any advice or ideas would be greatly appreciated :(

5 Replies

hi i was only diagnosed as asthmatic last year at 33 so can sympathise with you. in regards to your son if your not happy take him back to the gp or to one of the local walk in cantres or a and e if out of hrs and ask for another opinion. your his mum and you know him better than anyone it may be he just needs a bit of help to get over the virus or it may be something else but get another opinion.


Thank you for your reply :)

I think what makes it worse is feeling so alone with both of us ill and not being able to work out what's wrong with us.

We're both coughing badly, being sick... Everything's running through my mind at the moment. If it's ok I'd like to waffle along a bit here, I have a plan (which I'll get to later) and it'll just help me to sort things out in my mind.

I originally thought my problems were something to do with me having had whooping cough when I was very young. Maybe this had done some sort of damage to my lungs or something so whenever I get sick then I'm always left with a very bad cough.

This doesn't look like the problem now though with my son starting with the same symptoms...

It can't be the house, fumes from next doors coal fire or anything, my daughter and the cat are both fine.

I'm not so worried about me. It does get me down but it's like I can calm myself down if I think hard enough. Failing that I relax and let myself be sick. I know then that all the sticky goo is out and I'll beable to get to sleep.

With my son it's difficult though and I'm helpless to help him :(

He's had a good day. Finally eaten 2 bites of sandwich, 2 grapes, 1 spoon of jelly and a little mashed banana and he's done a poo! First time for both for 9 days.

He sat outside for a while. He did have a trouble breathing getting into the garden and then back again but at least he wasn't on the sofa all day.

I think I've grown a little ""hard"" to it if you get what I mean. My Mum was so shocked when we got back into the car after the docs when he was having difficulty breathing. For me though it's turning into a normal thing.

The doctor says there's nothing worng with him. But why couldn't he breathe after walking to the car?

I don't know what to think anymore. I tried booking an appointment for a different doctor but they wouldn't let me as we'd seen this one last week. I've tried the NHS helpline but it says they're busy and only offering urgent advice.

Another Mums advice would be great but I have no one to talk to about this...


We'll get through tonight. Hopefully. Then first thing I'm phoning the NHS helpline for advice. Asking them if I can go elsewhere, anywhere! to see a doctor. For crying out loud my 9 year old can't breathe when he walks upstairs!

Failing their help, and I don't like doing it but it has to be done :( I'll have to leave my son on his own for half an hour. My Mum's gone away till the weekend and there's no one else... I'll go to school and ask there, I think there's a local place I've heard mums taking kids there after doctors hours but haven't a clue where it is or what it's called, I'll see if they know.

Failing that then there's the chemist around the corner, they might have some advice.

And if I get no help still then it's going to have to be the Accident and Emergency place. I can't go on seeing him suffering like this no longer :(


Hi Poppy

I'm not a parent but I do work with children and I also find it really hard to see them suffering, I used to work with a baby who had alot of breathing difficulties and it was heartbreaking watching him suffer. and i think next time your son has any breathing trouble atall you should go to A&E, especially as your doctor isn't being any help. and you know the sickness thing, thats not a good sign, I have had asthma for a long time and only have sickness if my cough is very severe, but that usually means I have a chest infection.

It might also be worth trying to get an appointment with a respiratory consultant who will perform a number of tests to confirm the diagnoses of asthma. It doesn't sound like your doctor examined him properly or listened to anything you had to say.

Either way if you need to talk, feel free to pm me anytime and I hope you and your son get better soon.


Hi Poppy, I'm a mum of a 11 yr old asthmatic. I'm very concerned to read your post, if your son is struggling to breath so much he cant eat or walk without being very short of breath you must seek medical advice for him today!


'Unsure what to do'


I am a mum of a 3 year old girl. Your situation sounds very familiar - I've taken my daughter to see doctors at my practice many times and been ignored. One occasion she had a high temperature, bad cough to the point of sickness and was clearly very unwell. Twice I was turned away and told to give her Paracetamol. I took her to A&E where I was promptly given a X-ray and told she had a bad case of Pneumonia.

I have had to take her to A&E again recently because yet again I was given bad advice from the doctors. This last stay resulted in her being booked in on the ward. Once on the ward I had excellent advice from a Registrar and a Paediatrcian. I would definitely advise taking your son to A&E to get a correct diagnosis.


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