Asthma UK community forum

To puff or not to puff, that is the question!!

My son finished a course of Pred 10 days ago and has now developed a cold that has put him on another 3 day course. After talking to the doctor, I was told that he should only take the Ventolin every 4 hours. The trouble is that he coughs so much that he gasps for air. This means that he has been taking the Ventolin approx 10 times a day. On good days, he uses it 4-5 times and if he has sport this is doubled.

Does anyone have any advice? I am fed up with one doctor saying take it when he needs it and another telling me to try and go 4 hours before each dose! Trust me - 4 hours is a long time when you can't stop coughing and are struggling to breathe!!! His peak flow was 220 this morning and went up to 300 tonight. He is supposed to reach 369, will we ever get there....

4 Replies

OOH poor little chap. I would say puff. If he coughing that bad it is coursing him to breath funny then oyu can't make him wait until the 4 hours is up. I was told as long as Ryan is not having more than 20 times is normal single does then he is fine. Hi snormal dose at present is 100mg Salbutamol/ventolin so that means I can give him up-to 2000 mg. Which I think is the point when they say if you are requiring that much as achild then you need to be in hospital where they can give you specialist care and attention to get the doses down. I know my maximum dose is 5000mg and I am at present on 400mg. If anyone does kjnow the maxiumum does of salbutamol/ventolin a child can have in a single day I woul dbe very interested I am only go by what I have been told by my useless male GP.


Hi I would say puff but go and huff and puff at doc and ask what am I meant to be doing here?It's not right to give you rubbish info also try phoning the asthma helpline at top of page, they are fab and got me to see my doc Wednesday as I was feeling yucky. Given me steroids but seems to think won't need blue inhaler as steroids will make it all magically immediately better. Rubbish advice yet again, I've been doing 4 puffs every four hours like I do for my Son, it's helping but still not great.I shall be huffing and puffing at doc, he will be pleased on a Friday night TOUGH!

Hope your Son feels better soon

Take care

Kate x


Hi, I am sorry you are getting conflicting information. The consultant my 7 year old daughter has told me I could give upto 10 puffs hourly when she is poorly and that this is the equivalent of a nebuliser. This can be given in split doses or all in one go. Even the pharmacist seemed suprised when I told them this and turned up with a prescription for 10 ventolin inhalers. Obviously if this doesn't relieve the symptoms the next step is a 999 call. I hope your son feels better soon.


Hi snuggle bunny,

I'm so sorry to hear that your son is having such a bad time with his asthma! It also makes me angry to hear about the responses and conflicts of advice from the doctors!

I am a nurse in a GP surgery and run our asthma clinics - you should check if your surgery has it's own asthma clinic and make an appointment (it is usually the nurses who run them)!

As your son has only just started using the preventer inhaler (Clenil) it can take up to 2wks to become effective, although having the oral Pred will help meanwhile! What dose is he taking, also what inhaler device is he using? It is a very common problem for a person not to use their inhaler correctly and I imagine the doctors you have seen have not demonstrated the technique or even checked he can use the device adequately?!!! Ideally he should be using the pressurised-metered-dose-inhaler with a ""spacer"" (see the demo's on this website)!

As exercise seems to be a trigger it would be useful for your son to use his reliever (Ventolin) 2puffs about 10 mins before he does any exercise.

I am quite alarmed that he is having to take so much Ventolin! It may also be helpful for him to take a higher dose of the Clenil too. I advise my asthmatic patients to use both inhalers (preventer and reliever) 2puffs four times a day during a cold for up to 2wks.

I hope some of this advice may help- definitely check he is using the inhaler correctly though as this is one of the most common reasons I find why asthma isn't as well controlled as it should be!

Hope he gets better controlled very soon!


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