Asthma worse at night in the cold weather - would heating our son's room help?

Hello everyone and Merry Christmas!

My little boy of 3 and a half has had very well-controlled asthma pretty much since summertime - so we have made the assumption that pollen is a big trigger for his asthma. He was only diagnosed in March and so we're still trying to find out what all his triggers are - and because he's so young, it's often a case of reading between the lines regarding whether he's having symptoms or not (he doesn't wheeze or cough excessively).

We live in Cambridgeshire and have had very cold weather and snow over the last few days. A few weeks ago he was cycling in the cold weather and he suddenly said to me that he didn't want to ride any more and ""that he was frightened"" - which I know means that he needs his reliever (as he says this in the nighttime when his breathing is ""not right"" as he puts it. So, I'm confident that cold air

is a trigger. Therefore, we have been giving him his inhaler just before going outdoors at the moment and that seems to be doing the trick.

Anyway, he's been wakeful a couple of nights and has been waking early too (so we're all getting a bit sleep deprived). I've also had to give him his reliever in the night because you could hear that his breathing wasn't right. But even so, he's still woken up early when he really needs to sleep some more. My husband is thinking about going out to buy a little electric heater, one of those with a thermostat - just to keep his room a bit warmer over night and at a constant temperature. Does anyone think it's worth it? Would it help, or is it that the cycle of symptoms has already been triggered earlier in the day by the cold weather? Or is it the drop in temperature during the night that brings on symptoms? Am I making any sense....? Sorry for the long winded story for a simple question, but I know what it's like on the forum if you don't put in enough info, it's difficult to offer advice!

Thank you xxx

15 Replies

  • hi

    HI Wheels,

    Going from one room to a colder room can set asthma off.

    Try putting something under the bed so his head is raised up a little that should help and scarf when out.

    Not sure about a heater.Think a humidifier would help.

    love Glynis xxx

  • Hi Wheels,

    Sorry you little man's having problems at the moment. Waking at night isn't a good sign, usually when asthma is poorly controlled, and the cold air during the day may be the cause. When you let him go out, try and get him to wear a scarf or something over his mouth, as teaching him to breath through his nose only may not be possible, and I don't think buffs are small enough for him

    Heating the bedroom may be an option, but depending on how hot it is already, 12-16/18 deg centigrade is usually best for sleeping, but throw a few more blankets on the bed to keep him warm won't hurt.

    Using the reliever before going out is a good idea, and one that is recommended if you find it works, but stop him from breathing in that cold air, and wrap him up to keep the chill off, getting cold seems to be a big factor, so wearing a hat as well.

    merry christmas, and hope things settle down.


    PS watch using a humidifier, some with asthma can't stick increased humidity, making the worse, but the cold dry air tends to be less humid, also only consider the warm mist type, basically like steam from a kettle.

  • Hi we used to have the same problem, my youngest Son's asthma used to kick off half an hour after the heating went off. The only thing I would say about getting a small heater for the room is as soon as he walks out of the room he will probably have an attack. We used to leave the heating on and he would have an attack as soon as we opened the front door. We changed my Son's medication which stopped him having so many attacks, he has brittle asthma so it did take a while to get right.It would be worth telling the Doctor so they can advise you what to do. Hope he feels better soon, your probably shattered too!!!

    Take care


  • Thank-you so much for your help everyone - you are always so helpful and always make me feel normal and not paranoid about my son's asthma! I don't have asthma and find it difficult to know when he does have symptoms. Gosh, it's so bloomin confusing, especially when they're just that little bit too young to know what it is that they're feeling. His symptoms (touch wood) have only been mild since diagnosis after a hospital admission, but even so I reckon I'll take a trip to the resp nurse this week and see if they have any advice. I think he also makes his symptoms worse because he hasn't grown out of rhythmic rolling before and during sleep - it's quite energetic so prob enough to tip his symptoms enough to wake him.

    Hope you all get what you want on Christmas Day!


  • well i didn't manage to stave off an attack for my little lad. we ended up at the doc on christmas day. 5 days of pred - his favourite present from santa (not!!). xx

  • wheels,

    so sorry to here your little one had a bad go and ended on pred.

    wishing him well and hope a better new year .

    love Glynis x

  • cold weather

    I had problems Christmas eve. When I couldn't even get inhaler inside me cause of cough. Had to in back to ventolin with spacer. I am sure it was caused by it being cold in church. Heating was on but it was cold and felt it as I was talking. Had a bad attack a few wks ago after celebrating at communion as it was cold at the altar. Going in and of the warm and cold certainly doesn't help. I don't drink tea or coffee but find a hot drink of some sorts helps me. Loosens phelm. The Rev x

  • and now to top it off, a chest infection. i cried at the doctors today as i felt such a failure of a mother. luckily, the doc is lovely and he soon cheered me up! xx hope you're all well

  • you're not a failure, it's just one of those things, but glad you have an understanding doc.

  • Hi don't beat yourself up about it, it is so hard dealing with asthma and chest infections, even Doctors miss them. My Son had double pneumonia 2 years back and the A+E doc was trying to send us home and said there was nothing wrong just a little cough after the ambulance man heard crackling on both lungs. We are only human and you are doing the best you can. Sometimes we are running on empty and emotionally and physically exhausted too,You sound like a lovely Mum.

    Take care and hope your little boy is feeling better very soon


  • thanks rattles, i know that i'm doing ok on the whole. i think that sometimes, lapses of confidence catch me out, like at the docs today. thank goodness he is a nice bloke and a good gp! funny thing is, it was only yesterday that i was saying the same thing to another mum on here (that she was doing great) and then i go and doubt myself the next day!!! LOL.

    gosh, how awful. it just demonstrates the need to go with your instinct about your child doesn't it?


  • it's funny how your confidence goes, i've been dealing with asthma for nearly 12 years with both boys and when it all kicks off i,m fine but after a few weeks I doubt my ability (probably lack of sleep).I'm very deaf with only low pitch hearing,so i don't sleep very well for i worry i won't hear the coughing(i always do it even wakes me up, think its a sixth sense, i can't even hear a smoke alarm!).Our doors are always left open.

    I think you are right about instinct, you know your child better than anyone. But sometimes doctors are so pushy they fool you into thinking all is ok when in your heart you know it's not. Your GP sounds lovely. Mine is good but he seems to always be on holiday so we end up seeing someone who just says chest lovely and clear your being over anxious (my youngest Son has never wheezed). An hour later we are calling an ambulance and it could have been avoided.

    He's doing well at the moment and we had our 1st Christmas where he has been well, yipee. It's his Birthday next month and hope we can get through that too.

    Take care

    Kate x

  • If your son is suffering at night have you considered whether he has a dust mite allergy, which on top of the cold weather might be sufficient to trouble him at night. Your doctor can test him and if he has then you can consider taking precautions to reduce his exposure to dust mite allergens such as quality encasement covers for his bed, reducing carpets and curtains in his room, and making sure any of his stuffed toys are washed on a regular basis.

  • I agree with the whole knocking of confidence thing. The last attack my daughter (aged 14months) had just before Christmas had me at the GP with her 3 times, each time a different gp. On every visit I was told her chest was clear and to go home. I just knew she was not well. Eventually we had to call for an ambulance and she was nebulised and put on a high dose of pred for 5 days.

    This episode had gone on for a few days and with the constant worry and severe lack of sleep through beeing up ALL night with her severely vomitting through coughing, i was extremely tearful and self doubting.

    It wasnt until the pred kicked in and i knew for sure that id been right all along and it had in fact been her asthma.

    All i can advise is that the nurses on this site are AMAZING! I have several times cried to them and they have given me the very best advise and assured me im not alone.

    Asthma is a very isolating condition. When it effects a child of ours it leaves us feeling helpless and vulnerable. You probably feel like i do in the fact we are always 'on call' in case an attack occurs.

    Im not really sure what im trying to say other than you're not alone. Being a mummy is a hard job, but being a mummy to a child with asthma is terrifying too.

    You're doing a great job.x

  • I tell ya, don't know what I'd do without this site. It's so inspiring. Thank you everybody, you don't know how much your support has come to mean to me!

    Right, down with confidence lapse and up with waging war on my son's allergies! At least if I try really hard with allergy avoidance I know that I am doing everything within my power to help. It's always good to have something to ""do"" isn't it? Keeps the mind from wandering and getting stuck in aniety mode. :O)

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