Asthma UK community forum

Nearly 3 year old has Asthma - but as his Mum i'm really not sure. Maybe i'm in denial?!!


I'd appreciate anyones advice as I dont have Asthma and I don't really know anyone that does, so an 'expert' view would be great, especially anyone else with young children.

My little boy is nearly 3. There is no Asthma in the family, although I do have Hayfeaver. Every year since he was born he has had to have several doses of antibiotics and steroids at winter time when his cold has gone on to this chest and his coughing has been very bad. This has never bothered me or the GP and seems quite normal as babies pick up so many germs at a young age.

However in March, in the middle of the night he woke up crying and was struggling to breath. He was making a terrible noise as he was trying to breath so we rushed him to A&E. He had not cold or any other symptoms. When we were eventually seen, they gave him steroids which sorted it out within half hour and they said it was Croup.

I was worried about this diagnosis as he had croup the year before but had a cold to go with it and this time there was no cold but the breathing was very severe.

Also for most of his life he has suffered with Reflux and forever seems to be swallowing back acid. This swallowing back seemed to be getting worse so back we went to the GP, who after reviewing his symptoms and his history said she thinks he has Asthma and not reflux and the swallowing back is a symptom of Asthma.

Is that true?? I'd be really interested to know if this is something Asthma sufferers experience a lot.

The inhalers dont have much effect on the swallowing and i really do wonder if Asthma is the cause.

It baffles me how we've gone from regular chesty colds, croup and reflux to now Asthama. I just wonder if its a convenient tag to put on it all because of the one episode of 'croup', or rather an Asthma attack as the GP said it may have been. Still what do I know, I'm only his Mum!

He has just picked up another bug of some sort ( actually the whole family has exactly the same symptoms ) and during his monthly check up the Asthma nurse says we now need to give him Singulair tablets as well as his inhalers for a week, then we go back to make sure his chest is clear and he doesn't need antibiotics.

His symptoms are that he coughs when he runs - but this is only sometimes. He also never walks very far - although we have just put this down to him being lazy and he walks on tip toes so we've assumed his muscles aching could be behind this. But the nurse said babies often refuse to walk as they are tired and have no energy??!!

Apart from that and the swallowing we've only had one episode of going to A&E.

I'm really at a loss of what to think and do not have full confidence in the GP or nurses at my surgery.


4 Replies

Hi Jo

So sorry to hear your little boy has been poorly, it is such a worry and sometimes difficult to know when to seek medical advice. My son has asthma and he was first diagnosed as having asthma about two and a half years ago when he had his first official asthma attack. Like your son he has always suffered from colds going straight to his chest and numerous bouts of croup he also had bronchillItis at three months. He is 6 years old and autumn and winter seem to be the worst time for him as colds are his biggest trigger. We have had seven hospital admissions between September and April, but we appear to be having a good run at the moment!! The only advice I can give you is to keep a little diary of how he is so when you do see the doctor or nurse you have a clear record it is so easy to forget how they are day to day unless you keep a note. Keeping notes of how he is at night and when he is out and about will all help with a diagnoses. With regards singular for some it works fantastic and has made a huge difference, with my son he suffered from side affects so we had to take him off it. So it is worth writing down how he is once he starts on this too. I hope things improve.

Clare x


Hi Jo, Havent ever heard of swallowing back being a symptom of asthma. My son (now 14) had really bad reflux from birth which he was treated for. He still gets bad wind and sometimes tummy ache, but otherwise is ok now. His asthma started quite early on (about one I think) - as a lifelong asthmatic (uncontrolled as a child) I wasnt surprised. Like your son colds always trigger his asthma and often go on his chest. He also gets wheezy with exercise and he had croup and bronchialitis as a baby.

He was referred to a consultant who put him on Singulair when he was about 6 and that did help. A few years ago he was diagnosed with rhinitis and is now on antihistamines and a steroid nasal spray - they have helped as well. I'm afraid this asthma business is not straightforward, sometimes it's a matter of just seeing what inhalers/medication helps because everyone is different. I would follow the asthma nurse's advice because they are very experienced, also the doctor's advice of course.

Good luck and I hope things improve.


Hi. I can empathise wholly with your confusion over the blured line between Asthma and Reflux.

My youngest daughter is 2and a half and was diagnosed with chronic Asthma about 1yr old. Since then she has has numerous tests/procedures done. On Bronchoscopy they found food in her lungs. We were then told she is aspirating it due to a dodgy swallow! This in turn is becoming infected causing regular pneumonias! We were put in touch with a speech therapist who can assess swallowing problems. She told us that when Maddie is short of breath, her oesophagus goes into spasm and that's why she is aspirating!! This is secondary to her Asthma apparently. Also this is not reflux as it's not coming up from the stomach.

It's such a complex thing and I've been told over and over that reflux and asthma are quite close in symptoms in that sometimes stomach acid can reflux up into the lungs, causing irritation and therefore Asthma symptoms! However i too have never heard of Asthma causing reflux!

Has your little man had a ph study? This is a probe inserted up the nose and down into the stomach. It's held in place for 24hours and can give an instant reading as to whether there is reflux happening and how severe. Weirdly, maddie had minimal reflux found!

Do inhalers help with his symptoms? Is he on any reflux meds? Can you ask for a referral to a pard consultant?

It can be such a worry when you loose confidence in medics. I hope you can get some answers really soon.

Emily x


Hi jo

You say your son walkas on his tiptoes at 3? Have you seen someone about this? You say he doesn't walk far and this won't be helping! I'd ask your health visitor to refer him to orthapedics. As for the asthma/reflux/croup senario i'm afraid i can't help much. Ny oh has reflux and he gags on acid which is not nice for anyone involved. If your not happy with the diagnosis and the inhalers aren't working i'd seek a second opinion.


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