Asthma UK community forum

Daughter's asthma suddenly worse

I am posting here in desperation for advice and support. My daughter is five and was diagnosed with asthma at the age of three. She usually suffers with coughing brought on by exercise and colds. She was put on Montelukast at Christmas having had two chest infections back to back equalling three weeks off school and three weeks of next to no sleep for my husband and I.

Her symptoms usually start with coughing moving on to coughing with a retch at the end and ending with choking (literally). She has missed an ambulance call by a hairs breadth a couple of times before only because a sharp bang on the back has cleared the blockage (probably mucus).

Anyway, the coughinh started up this week and I thought ""uh oh, chest infection again"". I took her to the docs who said her chest was clear (last night). This morning her coughing was bad and this time her inhalar did nothing to help. The doc was called again bu her chest is still clear. Plus she has no temperature or other symptoms of an infection or cold.

They said her asthma is out of control and put her on soluble steroid tablets til Monday. The question is:- Why? why now and to this degree? She has not had a proper meal since yesterday and has mostly either slept, had her head over a bucket (mostly spit) or been staring into space (while coughing). She has maybe 30 seconds breather between each bout of coughing and its frankly quite disturbing for me. The only new things we have had int he house is a new teddy from build a bear which she got on Sunday (the day before the coughing started) and five mice which we have had for two and a half months. The mice live on cardboard with is dust extracted and she has been fine around them so far. She doesn't handle them either. Middle of last week I did add a cotton pod to the cage which contains natural raw cotton for them to nest in. We had a dog before and she has been around other animals too without issue so I am loathe to think it is the mice themselves.

Any thoughts on what the trigger could be? I am strongly thinking the teddy as she slept with it that night but I am open to suggestions. I am so used to this being the result of a cold or infection that it has thrown me completely.

13 Replies

was she completely fine before the new teddy arrived? if yes, then suspect the obvious first, and that would be remove the teddy, perhaps not the answer you, or your daughter want, but it may contain some chemical that is the trigger for her sudden downward spiral. It may take a few days to notice any difference, but worth a try, also ventilate the room as much as possible to remove the possible toxin.

do keep us informed. and hope she gets better soon.



Yes she was completely fine and showing no asthmatic symptoms at all until that night. We removed the teddy, thankfully she's not that attached to it yet, and I changed her bedding just in case. We ventilated the room as well.

Do you think it is dust mites inthe teddy or a chemical that irritating her? I am thinking of my dad whose asthma is very very sensitive to chemicals.

Edited to add:- Thank you for the swift reply!


hi im sorry to hear your daughter and you are having such a hard time but i just wanted to say you are not alone part of me hopes it was the teddy and it is all sorted but im not convinced that thats the cause my daughter for the past week has also been struggling and we have not changed anything or been anywhere different agter speaking to the consultant today we know her chest is also clear he suggested it could be the weather or pollen the other thing i wanted to ask was has she been stressed about anything at school or just really tired as its the end of the term even the no routine of the end of term can stress some out i know it sounds silly a 5 year old being stressed and about silly things but they do and i notice the effects on my daughter i also work with special needs so see it all alot hope she is better soon

take care



Thank you for your input. I hadn't thought about stress to be honest but I guess it can be a factor even in one so young. The other thing that was new was that they moved her year into a newly built classrooom last week..perhaps there was a factor there too. I think things like that and the weather may have made her suseptible and the teddy pushed her over the edge? Its too coincidental in timing to rule out the teddy playing some sort of role.



She is much much better today. Still coughing but not nearly as much as yesterday. Not 100% in herself yet, mainly tired but much better.


glad to hear she is improving. if you want to rule out dust mites or other bugs in the teddy, stick in the freezer for 24hrs, that will kill them, but I would still be inclined to go with my first thought of a chemical, any number can and are used in the manufacture of toys, some are also quite nasty.


I think it is 72 hours in the freezer - brrrrrrrrrrr



I have had a chest infection for the past two weeks, coughing. Have had two lots of of antibiotics, a short course of steroids (they made my very restless so had to stop taking) I have had a blood test which was fine and today had a chest xray (awaiting results). I am left with very painful ribs, like someone is consently squeezing them,it is very uncomfortable to sitdown. My asthma is a little worse but not as bad as the doctors thinks. So i to am at a loss as to what caused this, have done nothing different with my life, so i understand how you must be feeling?

Does anyone know how to relieve these painful ribs?


My Son has just had a major attack. Had to steam him and medicate as he couldn't breathe at one point. He is different to her in that he is coughing stuff up albeit benign. I can't ignore them both having a problem at the same time. He has no temp either or any other symptoms. Both have had teddies, which are both now removed. My asthma has been a bit wheezy the last two weeks with the weather but I am not having problems. Could it still be the teddies or are we looking at an allergy in the environment like pollen? He is on Loratadine (sp?) so I am inclined to think not pollen.

-confused, worried, exhausted and frightened-


To get rid of dust mites on teddy bears you have to put them in the deep freeze for at least 24 hours to kill the mites and then wash them in the machine to actually get rid of the mites/droppings.


hi there ...hope ur daughters feeling better now...was just wondering if it might have actually been anything to do with the in if its new ...chemicals in the air ....dust...things like that


E-docs gave my son Prednisolone this morning so it will be a gp visit for him too.

Daughter is doing well although still coughing off and on. Both are on 200mg Beclametasone twice a day and at least 400mg Ventolin to clear the coughing when it starts...which only works for my daughter since she has been on the steroids so hopefully will start to have an effect for my son too.


After having had such an horrendous time of it the asthma has all calmed down now. Build a bear very kindly sent out a replacement ""asthma friendly"" bear at no cost to us which was nice of them. We are still unsure as to what it was about the bear that caused the problem but are still positive it was the trigger.

My son's asthma was brought on by a viral cold but he was delayed in getting the temperature that goes with such things, however once it did appear then his trigger was obvious.

Both are now no longer on Qvar thanks to the advice of the nurse on the helpline here who was very helpful. She is now on Seravent aswell which will hopefully replace her montelukast in a months times if she gets on with it.

Thank you to for the information you sent us and the school asthma cards will come in very very handy.


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