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I have a 13 year old who does not have particularly bad asthma unless he decides not to take his inhaler! which is quite often, then he gets ill and expects me to feel sorry for him, i know this sounds harsh but im at my wits end trying to make sure he takes his inhaler, ok im not watching him all the time but surely hes old enough to know to take his inhaler, he knows the consequences of his actions because we go through the same thing every year. just really frustrated at the moment, dont really know whether to be worried or just leave him to it so long as it does not get too serious.

Anyone have any ideas


5 Replies

hello weingum

Afraid I have no advice as to how to manage your teenage son as have no kids! But thinking back (all those years ago now!!) to my teenage years - I used to not take my meds on purpose as I wanted to pretent I was ok and didn't ahve asthma. Think sometimes when you're young you think youre invincible and it's a shock when you realise you're not. Good luck, and hope he decides to start taking his meds regularly!



My daughter didn't take her inhaler unless pushed for a while and didn't like taking it out with her when she was small. she ended up with a bad chest infection one year when we were on holiday and ended up being nebulised when we got back home which she hated. After that, though, she was much more willing to use her inhaler when she needed it because she had to miss out on swimming and a sleepover when we were away.

Try talking to your son about his asthma. Get him to think about how much more he can join in things if he takes his inhalers rather than ending up being poorly and missing out. When he goes to his asthma check make him feel grown up by giving him some of the time with the asthma nurse alone. If he is made to feel more mature about it he may also be more willing to take the responsibility that goes with it. Is he having problems at school and using his asthma as a form of attention seeking both at home and at school? He may be doing it as a cry for help for some reason.

Hope you can sort things out quickly.

ange xx


I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 14, and I was really bad at taking my steroid inhaler for the first year that I had it. Part of the problem was that no-one had really explained to me what it was for (or if they had I hadn't taken it in) so I really didn't understand why I should take medication when I didn't feel ill. When I was 15 I had my first life-threatening asthma attack and after that I was a lot more diligent!

I'm not sure scare tactics work as a general rule though, kids tend to believe that they are immortal and it won't happen to them. There's also that 'not wanting to be different' thing and not wanting a visible reminder of illness. And as Ange says, kids can use poorly controlled asthma as a bid for attention if there are stressful things going on in their lives.

Have you talked to your GP or asthma nurse about it? There may be an alternative delivery device that your son will find more acceptable than the one he's got. (for some reason I found it much easier as a teenager to comply with the turbohaler rather than the MDI) It might be possible to get a stronger inhaler so that he has to take fewer puffs each time, which will take less time. If he can choose the delivery device he might feel more in control and more willing to take responsibility for his asthma. Ange's idea of letting him go to some of his asthma nurse appointments on his own is a really good one too. Anything that will make him feel in charge of his condition and that he is being treated as an adult.

I wonder also if it's worth writing to some celebrity who has asthma, maybe a sports personality from whatever sport your son is into (I think AUK have info on which celebrities have asthma). It might be worth getting them to write to your son and explain that they would not be where they are today if they did not take their preventer inhaler regularly.

If you've tried everything and are still not having any luck, then it's probably best to try and cultivate (or fake!) a laid back attitude to it, and not make it a big issue. Time will improve things, as your son matures he will hopefully realise the importance of staying in control of his asthma and that his life is better when he does. The vast majority of teenagers with chronic illnesses are non-compliant at some point, and most of them come through it unscathed.

Hope this helps

Take care

Em H


thanks for replying, it was really helpful, i will talk to his nurse and him, think it may be a bit of everything you guys said, from attention seeking to pretending not to have it.




hi has he been on a kick asthma (formerly peak) holiday. if not take a look at the kids link. at least there he will be with lots of other asthmatic children and be educated about his inhaler as well. it took my cocky fifteen year old to have a bad attack in the sea to make him take his ventolin with him. i think it is a stage they all go through. he now carries two ventolins but i noticed both were very dusty and covered in mud in his football bag so not sure we are any better off :-(

also the kick asthma gives you a weeks break and gives someone else the chance to nag him. i find that the best bit.


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