Asthma UK community forum
9,883 members16,642 posts

just need to offload!

hi all,

don't really need advice just listening ears (although if you have advice that's great)! I am finding this whole asthma thing rather scary and very tiring. My almost 3 yr old was diganosed a few months ago and has had several attacks, one ambulance rush to hospital and is right now on his 3rd course of preds. In between time he's managed on two puffs of becotide twice a day and ventolin as and when he needs it. He tends to have problems when he gets a cold which is very often. He's also now on his second lot of anti-biotics in two months for chest infection. I can't get him 100% well and with two older kids he picks up everything. I think we are managing his attacks as well as possible but I worry that I am dealing with it too much on my own and perhaps one day I will leave it too late to get him to the hospital. Our nurse says nebulisers are not needed and ventolin inhaler is just as good in an attack therefore there's really no reason for us to get him into hospital. So when DO I get him in? After he's turned blue from not breathing and the ventolin has stopped working? The last two nights when he's had attacks (this time it's been constant coughing more than gasping & grunting for air) I have had him in the bathroom with hot shower running to create steam and have pumped in the ventolin every minute til his breathing was under control. Last night I felt close to calling 999 but then we managed to win the battle ourselves. But I can't help worrying that I shouldn't be risking trying so long at home. What if we keep trying and it doesn't work and then it's too late? Monday night he was crawling on the floor coughing and crying and panicking and we just kept going with the protocol the nurse gave us. It has worked, obviously, but it just seems like a huge risk and I am scared I am not getting him all the help he needs.

I am just talking here so you don't need to reply... just felt like getting my thoughts out! thanks for listening! This is just very tiring and worrying and I hate to see my little boy suffer like this.

10 Replies

I really feel for you, asthma must be terribly scary for you as a parent.

The only advice I can offer is to read up on asthma and see if you can identify something that is making his asthma worse. Allergens are a massive cause of asthma, and it could well be something like that making him have problems. I'm going to list some general advice about airborne allergens here and I hope it helps you.

1) Make sure that he is breathing through his nose when he can. This will help to filter a lot of allergens so it may help his lungs. Heres a few questions to think about that may indicate an allergic problem:

2) Do you have any pets? (cats, dogs, other furry animals, birds or reptiles)

If so, consider a pet allergy quite likely. Take him somewhere that has no pets (pet allergen gets everywhere and sticks around for several months) for a week or so and see if theres a noticable improvement.

3) Is his asthma worse at night?

If so, it is probably something to do with dust. You don't need to clean your house extensively every day (in fact, thats worse because it just throws the dust up into the air). Keep his bedroom uncluttered and as empty as possible. Get rid of as many (or all) cuddly toys (if possible!) as these contain a huge amount of dust mites, and also think about anti-allergy pillow and mattress covers. These covers are far more effective at preventing dust inhalation than ANYTHING else (including steam cleaning, ionisers, dehumidifiers etc.)

4) Do you take him out for a walk to get fresh air every day? If so, is he better when you do this?

Although it is winter and not necessarily ideal for him to be breathing in lots of cold air through his mouth, if he keeps a scarf on and remembers to nose-breathe it will probably do him a world of good.


Hi Landa. My daughter who is 6 has suffered with severe asthma since a very early age.She too is like your son and wakes up gasping and coughing/wheezing alot.My advice to you is trust your own instincts. That nurse may not of been right or wrong if you think he needs looking at take him straight to A+E its better to be safe than sorry.At least if you take him to he gets a proper assessment each time.I hope this is helpful to you and if you want a chat feel free to message me.Take Care and I hope your son starts to improve soon.Nikki xx



thank you for your lovely words of encouragement! I really do appreciate it as we feel quite alone in dealing with this! Today Joel is worse than yesterday but not so much with his breathing but he's really lethargic and constantly crying/whining with odd bouts of coughing. He was up & playing yesterday so it surprised us to see how he was today. I am not sure if the prednisolone is making him feel bad but seeing he has been on antibiotics and pred since Monday I would have expected him to be better. I am taking him back to the docs this afternoon just to have him checked out for our own piece of mind.

Thanks for advice regarding triggers. We have actually just had a brand new carpet put in his room and he has hypoallergenic bedding and I dust with a wet cloth. We aren't sure if it's dust that triggers it or not as there are times when his asthma is under control and then he gets a cold or a chest infection and he's bad again. It's a real learning process so we are ready to try & learn anything new! Thanks again for your advice and encouragement.




Was your sons chest as bad before the new carpet. I have had major problems with new carpets being a trigger for me(not at home as im carpet free) if so could this have made things more of a problem for him. It is recommended that if dust is known to be a trigger then carpetsbe removed (hope this isnt the casr seeing as you have just forked out for a new one)

May i suggest that you vacuum the carpets daily for a couple of weeks to remove any extra dust/ fluff that could be a proble3m.

I hope things improve soon for you, keep us posted


Could someone please tell me how to make sure a 2 year old is breathing though their nose? I have had 4 children 2 with mild asthma and one with severe asthma and with the best will in the world I don't know how I could have made sure they were breathing through their noses especially as blowing the nose at that age is somewhat hit and miss and they tend to pick up every cold going. I agree about clearing antigens but please don't get hung on breathing through the nose or it you will end up with straws in your hair :)



Hi Landa

I'm the mum of three kids with asthma and i have to say noone will ever critisise you for taking them to the GP or A+E or phoning the out of hours GP too early or repeatedly if in your opinion they aren't right. You know as a mum you can't do everything by the parenting textbooks as you'd fail miserably everytime or be a demented wreck when it comes to protocols its the same follow the guidelines and the good advice they give you but at the end of the day you know your child best and have to go with your instincts.

As an asthmatic myself i have to say it's harder for me to watch my children wheeze than it is to not be able to breathe myself as you feel sooo helpless!

So my golden rule is if i'm not sure and exhaustion can make that worse if your up in the night with them i call for help even if its the advice line on the out of hours GP.

Bex - Have to agree don't think my 2 year olds are even sure what a nose is yet!


Hi Landa,

Have you been given guidance regarding a ""plan of action"" to take when your son has an attack? It can be useful to have something like this to provide a ""cut-off"" point in your own mind for when you should be seeking extra help for him (not that this should replace your own parental judgement, which is often the best guide for how he is).

One example of such a plan would be something like two puffs of ventolin through the spacer (once he's sat down, loosened tight clothing etc), then one puff a minute after that until he improves. If he hasn't improved after ten minutes, or if he is deteriorating significantly during that time despite the treatment, then you should be calling for help.

What the other guys have said is right - no health professional will ever begrudge you bringing a poorly child to them if you are worried. We would much rather see him and make sure he's ok, if you're unsure, than have to give him lots of treatment when he has gotten very poorly.

Hope this helps.




again, thank you all for your advice. I really have appreciated all the messages... like I said we have felt quite alone in dealing with this and we feel so new to it all and rather helpless. I do have a plan of action from our nurse & I do think this time it worked... I kept puffing the ventolin in every minute or so as well as steamed up the bathroom but I have never experienced anything quite so scary or exhausting. My son panics so I make sure I am not outwardly freaking out but inside I am. And whilst treating him I am thinking in my mind... is it working, should it have worked by now, do I call an ambulance, the doctor, will he calm down... and I know only time will tell but every minute goes on forever! I saw another doctor with him today and he thinks he now has a throat infection and so once these antibiotics are done with we'll see how he is and he might need more. He said his lungs were clear though so the pred has worked but he was disappointed that he was still feverish and unwell so we hope the antibiotics will do their job. But he also said that if we have ANY concerns at-all just to get to a doctor even if it's over the weekend, not to worry just go. That helps a lot, having a doc give that kind of backing.

Well, I have to go but I have enjoyed reading all your thoughts and advice and have definitely learned alot today! Thank you. Now I have to go see to my 8 yr old son who has just again started night coughing- they are checking him out for asthma too.


Hi Landa,

As hopalongkp said, new carpets can be particularly troublesome to asthmatics. Its not normally straight forward allergy to the carpet but sensitivity to the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) emitted from carpets when they are new (that new carpet smell). The level of VOCs emitted tend to drop off over time but may take in excess of 6 months. The new carpet may not be a problem, but it may be worth checking this out by perhaps moving him to another bedroom for a couple of nights to see if there is any improvement in symptoms.

I suffer from mild (occasional) asthma and my major triggers are also common colds/chest infections. One of my striking observations is the length of time that my asthma symptoms persist after the cold/infection has long since disappeared. The airways appear to be hypersensitive for such a long time and will react to relatively low levels of airborne chemicals/odours that wouldn’t normally affect me. Things like new carpets, fabric conditioner on bedding and clothes, deodorants, perfumes, room air fresheners and household cleaning products become a problem, all causing excessive coughing and wheezing.

All three of my kids suffer similar (occasional) asthma symptoms, albeit that Michael (the 14 year old football fanatic) has not experienced asthma symptoms since he was about 5. His asthma symptoms were quite bad between age six month and 5 years. I remember we had a horrendous time getting our GP to take his symptoms seriously. It took a trip to A&E to put things into perspective and for our GP to finally acknowledge that Michael’s symptoms were perhaps more serious than he had realised. Please trust your own parental instincts and take Joel to A&E/call NHS24 if you feel his symptoms are deteriorating. The “plan of action” suggested by Cathbear sounds a good idea.

Hope this helps a wee bit.



thank you

thanks for all the advice regarding the new carpet. We knew that no carpet at-all would probably have been the best idea but our nurse feels that Joel's asthma isn't dust triggered necessarily so we just went with a carpet. Joel has slept in many different places... with and without carpets but we haven't ever really noticed a direct connection between carpets and his asthma playing up, usually it's just viruses and chest infections (of which he gets many with an older bro and sis!) However it's interesting to read that following those he might be more sensitive to other things (like dust, fabric conditioner etc). I have just had a good hoover in his room and will continue to keep things as dust free as possible especially in these next days & keep an eye on things that might be making it worse. Really appreciate all the advice!


You may also like...