Asthma UK community forum

Cough, Cough,

Hi, my 13 month old daughter is suffering terribly at the moment. For months she has been coughing at night and then being sick, to start with the doctor prescribed Saline drops thinking it was just excess mucus, then changed the drops for a stronger type but to no avail. After months of going back they have now prescribed an inhaler (ventolin), this seemed to work, the first few evenings we used it she slept through with no problem, however last night the coughing started before she went to bed and for the life of me there was no way she was having her inhaler (she has the mask etc..). She got so het up because of the mask she was sick anyway.

I had asthma as a child so it doesnt stress me in the way it might some mums who havent dealt with it before, so I dont think it was my reaction to the coughing that upset her.

I have two questions really

How do you convince a 13 month old not to get stressed and having a facemask on is a good thing (we played around with it before I ever tried her with it, so she saw it as a good thing)?

Is there anything tent like that can be used, something that she can sit in rather than touching her face?

Any help would be greatly apprecaited,


2 Replies

Hi Lisa,

Sorry to hear that you are having problems with your little girl - it must be very difficult to see her in distress like that.

In terms of practical advice - I am sure some of the mums on the site will be along shortly to share their experiences. I presume you are using an inhaler and spacer with face mask attached? As far as I am aware, there is no tent-like alternative to the inhaler and spacer, and I am not at all sure it would be possible or wise to try to improvise one - the majority of the drug would probably end up deposited on the inside of the tent.

You're doing absolutely the right thing by playing around with the spacer with her - the more familiar and comfortable she is with it, the better. I would have the spacer and mask, minus inhaler (or maybe a spare spacer, so that you keep the one you use clean) around with her favourite toys all the time. You could try putting it on her favourite doll or teddy, or miming using it yourself (in general, of course, it's not a good idea to give children the idea that it's okay to use other people's medication, but this is probably the exception). You could try putting stickers on the outside of the spacer and inhaler - maybe of a cartoon character or similar. You could make up a little routine when you come to get her to use it, maybe even make it part of a song. Anything to make it seem like a bit of a game. And of course, lots of positive reinforcement and praise when she does let you give it to her successfully, and minimal fuss and a low-key attitude when it doesn't go so well.

I think the key thing is to persevere - she will get used to it eventually, and of course things will probably get easier as she gets older.

As I say, I am sure some of the mums with direct experience will be able to make some more useful suggestions!

Take care

Em H


kids really hate the spacer and mask but i found there is a way!! it's best if one person does it. as i'm sure you can imagine, having someone stand over you holding something into your face would be quite terrifying for anyone! sit her on your lap and hold her arms with your elbows, hold her legs with yours, then you have both hands to support the head and hold the mask to he face. its hard at first but they get used to it quickly. rock gently back and forward singing her favourite nursery rhyme or theme tune, keeping calm your self and reassure her and praise her everytime. say 'that was really good, welldone, lets do another one and mummy give you big cuddles' or something and while she's taking it say welldone and tell her how good she is. it does help to have someone else with you to do the counting as it's easy to loose count when singing. although it seems easier to try and do it all in one go. do a puff, count to 10 then have a cuddle and praise before you do another one, it takes ages to get a load in, but she'll be so much calmer and you'll find she'll take more in. it always helps to have some treats in the day time when she needs it. when my son was that age, i used to put a couple of white chocolate buttons in a tub for him to hold. then when he had taken his puffer, how ever long it took, only when i said he had finished, we opened the tub and he enjoyed he treats. he soon realised if he was a good boy he might get some treats, and sometimes got his stuff out and asked for it so he could have the treats after!! it's all about associating with something good, treats, cuddles and praise. it is so hard not to get stressed in the middle of the night when your tired and worried about their health but it really helps to stay calm!

Hope this helps you, there's a lot to try but i found it worked so well and people were so happy with how he took his inhaler.


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