Daughter, two and a half years old - advice needed please

My daughter is 3 in the summer.

She has asthma, diagnosed with at the age of 18mths. She doesnt have wheezt attacks, but severe coughing fits that sometimes last a few hours on and off.

We met an asthma nurse last week which was lovely to finally get some proper advice of how we should be using our inhalers and what to look out for etc. My daughter was healthy and fit then. But on Monday evening she just started coughing. It came from nowhere. She was awake most of Monday night, as was I. She was reluctant to use her spacer by middle of the night and I just concentrated on keeping her calm and soothing her with cuddles. By Tuesday morning she was absolutely worn out as you can imagine. She was still coughing and couldnt eat any breakfast. I saw the GP mid morning who diagnosed her with a bacterial infection of some sort, as she had a temperature also.

We came away with a prescription for antibiotics. The asthma nurse called to visit us that afternoon. After quick examination, she soon diagnosed that my daughter didnt have a chest infection as she was wheezing and not rattling. She also told me that with my daughter breathing her chest right in and tummy right out, displayed signs that she had suffered an asthma attack. Advised me to take the emergency prescription for steroid tablets, which we did and started on those that afternoon.

By last night, she'd perked up a bit, eaten all her tea, and although I hadnt expected it, she slept through the night with just the occasional cough.

Today however, although seeming much brighter this morning, she's dipped in and out of this coughing, exhausted state and again she's been reluctant to use the spacer.

She's been having 30 seconds or more of constant coughing when she starts. She is fast asleep now happily and seems fine. I can only hope it continues.

She'll have the final dose of steroid in the morning and we're expecting a call from the nurse sometime tomorrow. But shouldnt the steroids have had more effect by now?

I am concerned because I don't know what to look for in my daughter, and know when it's an emergency and call 999. The asthma nurse is lovely and said I can call her anytime (within working hours), but Im afraid to call an out of hours doctor if she has a bad night, incase they miss the asthma completely like the GP on Tuesday did.


7 Replies

  • Your daughter might need a longer course of steriods. It sounds like they are working with her having a better nights sleep. What inhalers does she take? Which speacer device has your daughter got? My son was the same he had the big old chunky Volumatic with a face-mask and he hated this one he know has a small and compact aero-chamber and loves it. It has little teedies oin it and you only have ot breath on it for 3/4 breathes which means they have the face-mask on less time. Hope your daughter's asthma continues to improve and huge hugs to you.

  • I am so sorry to hear about what you and your daughter are going through.

    I do not have children so, no doubt, others can best advise.

    What I will say that having asthma becomes a huge learning curve for all of us and it is something that you have to take into your own hands. At some point most of us become aware that there are some Doctors who are brilliant at understanding asthma and others who, frankly, are bordering on the dangerous. Part of being an asthma sufferer, or a parent of one, is learning this and becoming very proactive in your knowledge of the illness, of the symptoms, of understanding the different medications and what they do, of the warning sides and, it must be said, of learning to recognise the good Doctors from the rest.

    In my experience, most asthma nurses are more clued up and understanding of asthma than most of the GPs I have come across - GPs are generalists after all and asthma nurses specialise in just one thing.

    However, if ever in doubt do not hesitate in calling 999 for your child and getting her straight to hospital. From what I know of young children with asthma is that A&Es see such children constantly and they would rather you got her in under a false alarm than risking, frankly, being embarassed about calling for help - you know what us Brits are like, we hate to cause a fuss... well, with asthma you have to throw that mentality out of the window and retrain yourself to learn to make a fuss... politely but firmly of course... learning about asthma, the medications, the symptoms, the danger signs will all help you to become polite but firm in helping her.

    I hope your daughter grows out of this in time.

    One last point... which I am boring everyone with on here, the National Jewish Health Hospital in Denver, one of the top lung hospitals in the World, recently completed a study into treating ashmatic children with high doses of Vitamin D, much higher than the UK recommended daily amount, and the results were staggeringly positive.

    They found that children with asthma usually have chronically low levels of Vitamin D and that supplementing Vitamin D into their diet improved their asthma consideraly - Vitamin D is the sunlight hormone and, without going into it in detail here because it is long and complex, there are a lot of Doctors who are now linking the huge increase in asthma in the past 20 years with us being told to stay out of the sun and to put sunblock on whenever we go out... sunblock cuts out 99% of Vit D creation... and from Oct to April in the UK we can make no Vitamin D at all so the vast majority of British people are Vitamin D deficient...

    It has also been found that children born in the late winter/early spring have lower levels of Vit D because their Mothers had chronic Vit D deficiency through the Winter months when carrying them in pregnancy. In fact, a recent survey found that breastfeeding Mothers who took 6000 units of Vit D per day passed no Vit D onto their children but when they took 6,600 units Vit D appeared in their breast-milk in sufficent amounts for the children not to get rickets.

    (I think the UK RDA is just 400 units and the majority of Docs have been trained to tell us all that more than 400 units is dangerous despite the fact that when you sunbathe on a sunny day your skin makes 10,000 units in just 20 to 30 minutes without any sunblock on.)

    Sorry, I could wax on about this... but studies in Holland and Japan seem to be backing up the research in Denver and Docs are now theorising that if high doses of Vitamin D can improve use of asthma medications and/or reduce need for asthma medications whether Vit D can, long-term, get rid of asthma.

    If interested, look at the work of Dr. John Cannell of the vitamindcouncil.org (Interesting emails in the archives from asthma sufferers.) and Professor Michael Hollick of Boston University School of Medicine who oneday, perhaps, we will all be requesting a sainthood for. If you think about it, we evolved over millions of years in the sunlight and our skins only got lighter the further north from the equator we got - lighter skin is needed to create Vit D as you get further from the Equator.

    Anyhow, something to think about as although the asthma medications are vital life-savers - I will say it again, asthma meds are important to us all - many asthma sufferers do turn to things like yoga, health supplements, etc, in an attempt to ease their asthma. Thankfully, the studies into Vitamin D is looking very encouraging and just something for you to consider.

    I hope your daughter improves soon. It must be a very worrying time for you but please, please, please, never hesitate to call 999.

    Peace, Love and Light,


  • Please do not worry about calling out of hours doc, thats what they are paid to do. My Son doesn't wheeze he coughs and his asthma has been missed many a time,steroids take 10 days to work for him and the same for me too. If you are not happy about your daughters condition, never worry about bothering docs or paramedics. It is better to be safe than sorry. Also the quicker you give the correct treatment the quicker the recovery, the more you wait, the harder it is to treat and longer treatment is needed.

    Good Luck and hope you get some sleep

    Kate x

  • Thanks everyone

    DD is much better today, she's had another good night and is more active today. Still having the odd wheezy and coughing attack but overall, much improved.

    I spoke again with the asthma nurse this morning and described how she's doing. She is visiting us again next week to make another assessment, but wasn't worried for her today. She thinks she's going in the right direction.

    Her spacer is called an ""AeroChamber"" - with a picture of a teddy on it! I didn't actually realise you could get different types.

    Thanks again for your support


  • That is great news hope your daughter continues on the road of recovery and gets a nice long brake from her asthma playing up so she can be fully strong enough to cope when it does go pants again

  • Glad your Daughter feeling better, It's such a relief when they start getting better.

  • Hiya sparky, I know I'm a bit late with a reply (have been on holiday), but just wanted to say that I really know that feeling - of doubting yourself and whether you can really be sure that your child's having symptoms, should I call the doctor should I not etc. And it's a horrible, horrible feeling. Sometimes it makes me so sick in the stomach, especially if I've been a bit slow on the uptake that my lad's been having symptoms. We're in a similar boat to you, except that my boy's nearly four. But he's also only been diagnosed a year and so have had a steep learning curve such as yourself. The thing that I've really come to realise is that although I regularly doubt myself and my judgement - I am generally correct that something's not right with my boy. Small children don't seem to present asthma in the way that you envisage prior to your child developing it. The more I talk to parents about this, the more apparent it becomes. My lad's pitch of voice changes first and his laugh too. It's his first symptom. We know this now - but would never have identified this prior to his first asthma attack. We know it now, because we've been through it a few times. It happens every time. Our ears are tuned to it now. But even if I'd been told to look for it - I would not have been sure that this was what was happening. I'd have thought that I was being neurotic/overprotective mum. I'm sure that my in-laws think that! They can't hear see it. But I can. And I know that I'm right. I suppose what I'm trying to say is that you are without a doubt the expert of your child. Honestly, you really are, you know her better than anyone in the world. And if you're in any doubts that you need someone to see her straight away, then don't ever feel guilty about making that call. The vast majority of nurses and doctors will be glad that you've made the call. And who gives a hoot anyway? Your daughter's health is the most important thing. And it's important too that you are supported as her parent and her carer.

    Another thing that we've noticed as the last year or so has gone on is that just as we think we are confident in recognising our lad's symptoms, he goes and bloomin well changes them!!!

    Anyway, I'll shut up now! Glad your little lassie is feeling a bit better x

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