need of advice please

Hello im new on here, just posted this on the general forum but then realised it would be best on here with you guys.

My son Joshua will be 3 yrs old in may, he has had a rough 3 years, he was diagnosed with craniosynositosis (premature fusing of the skull sutures) so underwent reconstructive surgery at BCH when he was 6 months old.

The reason im on here looking for advice is because the last 8 nights Joshua has been waking with a terrible cough, he coughs so much for at least 2 hours and has trouble getting hid breath with it.

what is puzzling us is that he is well in himself, not had a cold for 5 months (touch wood), no coughing at all in the day but as soon as night time comes, the cough rears its ugly head!

asthma runs highly in my family, my mum and 2 brothers suffer with it and did so terribly when they were children.

could josh be suffering from asthma?

he has no wheezing with it, also would it just flare up at night and nothing in the day?

thanks in advance

heidi

9 Replies

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  • Hello Heidi

    It certainly wouldn't hurt to whip him down to the doctors as soon as you possibly can because if it is asthma you want be treating it. With us it was constant chest infections that indicated asthma and my daughter has never been a wheezer either. If it is asthma getting some information and inhalers onboard should enable your little man to sleep properly at night. And a well rested 3 year old has got to be a happier 3 year old.

    Have you also tried propping his mattress up with a pillow underneath? We did this quite a bit when my dd was little and it was a help.

    Hope you get it sorted.

    Jacqui

  • Thanks Jacqui for your reply. we have been propping his mattress up but it doesnt seem to help at all. I going to get him in to see doc tomorrow, ill keep you posted.

    heidi x

  • Hope this helps a bit!

    Hi there! I had the same thing with my daughter when she was about 3 (she's just turned 5 now): the night-time cough that just wouldn't go away but kept the whole house up night after night: the poor soul was totally exhausted after 4 nights because she just couldn't get any rest, as soon as she started to go to sleep at night the cough would start. A visit to the docs and he said she didn't have a chest infection (which I kind of knew cos the cough was dry) and like you had noticed she wasn't suffering from a cold..........hey-ho the diagnosis was asthma and she was given ventolin syrup and then an inhaler. This just didn't really add up to me as i'd always thought of asthma as when someone is being wheezy and out of breath but we gave it a go and it worked for a while, then it all started over again and the same diagnosis from the docs (but no real explanation of it of course)!

    I have only just started researching this myself and found out that it is caused (more than likely anyway) by an allergy to the house dust mite and possibly damp from the house and is really common and is indeed classed as asthma! The house dust mite reproduces every late autumn and early spring which co-incides with the worst times of the cough for us: armed with this useful information I have set about religiously cleaning my daughter's bedroom using a HEPA filtered vacuum cleaner, damp dusting, putting soft toys from the bed in the freezer for 6 hours a time every 2-3 weeks, using a dehumidifier to extract the damp air because apparently the dust mites can't survive in dry conditions - HA!, also using mattress and pillow anti-allergy covers, vacuuming the mattress, washing the bedding at 60 degrees. I really, really hope that all this works because my daughter is on 3 inhalers now(!) and still gets the night cough-it is the latest bout that has got me really fanatically cleaning. I just want us all to get a good night's sleep! Maybe you want to try some of this (I didn't want to I have to admit, but if i'm going to be exhausted by not sleeping, I figured I had nothing to lose by being exhausted from cleaning!) Time will tell if this works and at least now I feel I'm doing everything I can to help.

    Hope you find this helpful! Best wishes. x

  • My boys both coughed at 6 months and were diagnosed with asthma soon after. My youngest Son never wheezes which is a nightmare.It really worth getting it checked.We use a v shape pillow to prop my Son up and put his other pillows on top. He uses this every night just to make sure. Argos have got them in at £7.99 at the mo complete with cover. We have now just ditched the old one (they were £30 in last catalogue!!, bought 2)Also vapour rub can help on the soles of feet, it's our one way we can tell if it's asthma or a cold. If it's a cough from asthma the vapour rub does nothing but works with a tickly cough.It may be different for other children. Hope you get some answers soon

    Kate

  • Just a thought

    The replies you have received are spot on.

    Just an additional thought would be.....have you carried out any DIY in the house, such as replaced any windows or doors? Some strong smells from glue, adhesives and paint can cause asthma type symptoms such as coughs and wheezing in children and adults, but is not necessarily asthma.

  • Heidi - have you been to the doctor yet and described the symptoms? Also, keep an eye out for any other signs of his breathing being ""not right"". when my little boy was a baby, I used to say to the HV and the doc that his breathing wasn't right in the evening and at night time. It was really audible, but not wheezy. It was also a bit stop-start, stuttery I used to say. But they just told me that all babies have funny breathing and not to worry. He also woke up a lot and an early riser too. Now when I look back I wish I'd known more about asthma because my husband and I are convinced that he probably had it back then (he'll be four in June). Even now he doesn't hardly ever wheeze. And he doesn't cough either. We see increased respiratory rate and other things like tummy breathing. We wish that we could look back, so that we might have spotted these things. We knew that we should be on the lookout for asthma as he has always been atopic and has allergies, but asthma was always described to us by the HV and docs, it was always as being wheezy and fighting for breath, not the less overt signs. I suppose what I'm trying to say is to really observe your boy's breathing for any changes - is it audible and fast at rest? is his tummy going when he's breathing at rest? i always sit and do a story with my little lad so that i can get him to stay still for a while. if his asthma's uncontrolled then i can hear it and feel his tummy going - this is usually in the evening (you could set a clock by when his symptoms kick in). and when he's asleep i count his breaths per minute. watch him closely when exercising, going into cold air etc - has he got any little signs? my lad got ""tummy ache"" when exercising (soft play etc) and that was the clincher for us that he was definitely getting symptoms regularly - when he was diagnosed the respiratory nurse said that she thought that this was his way of describing his chest tightening. it is really, really hard with children when they're young. They all have such different symptoms, triggered by different things and they certainly express things in their own unique way!!

    If I were you, I'd get down the docs tomorrow and tell them exactly what you've told us on here. Night time coughing can indeed be a clue that it is asthma, especially if there's an absence of temperature, colds etc as you said. Do you have a good GP? We're lucky, we have a very good practice. And we have a respiratory/asthma nurse who runs inhaler clinics there three days a week. The GP immediately referred us to her (even though I felt a right pain in the bum, going to the docs with my vague descriptions of his my son's symptoms funny set of symptoms!!) and she diagnosed my son with just one visit (although he had had a hospital admission with ""viral induced wheeze"" a month previous, just turned out to be asthma). She has been great, if I have any problems I just ring her and she'll give me advice over the phone, does all my son's prescriptions etc. She's just been replaced and the new nurse is just as great. It'd be really worth your while asking if there is a similar service.

    I really hope that you get to the bottom of things. You and your little Joshua has already been through so much. I really do think that you should get him down to the doc. xx

  • Thankyou for your replies

    Hi all, well we took Joshua to the see the docs on weds, Tuesday night pushed me over the edge, he coughed so bad he was on his hands and knees gasping for breath. He became so upset and frightened with it, it seemed to make his coughing so much worse. we were waiting for the doc in the waiting room, josh was running around and then one of his coughing fits started. So the doc saw it, which helped me explain what his cough is like. she listened to his chest which was clear. Then said ill try him on an inhaler. i asked her ""so you think its asthma?"" she said ""yes"".

    he has been put on the blue inhaler, begins with V? not got it to hand to see what its called! he has to have 1 puff of it. do you think that is right? he is still having the coughs at night and now in the day when he has been running round or outside in the cold. The doc was quick at diagnosing asthma but didnt give me any support by talking me through it, i had to ask her what would be causing it. i had to ask my mum who suffers with asthma all about symptoms, causes, what an inhaler does! i have to take him back in 3 weeks, ill go and see my own doc as i couldnt get into see her on weds.

    thanks all for our replies and advice its greatly appreciated. heidi x

  • Thankyou for your replies

    Hi all, well we took Joshua to the see the docs on weds, Tuesday night pushed me over the edge, he coughed so bad he was on his hands and knees gasping for breath. He became so upset and frightened with it, it seemed to make his coughing so much worse. we were waiting for the doc in the waiting room, josh was running around and then one of his coughing fits started. So the doc saw it, which helped me explain what his cough is like. she listened to his chest which was clear. Then said ill try him on an inhaler. i asked her ""so you think its asthma?"" she said ""yes"".

    he has been put on the blue inhaler, begins with V? not got it to hand to see what its called! he has to have 1 puff of it. do you think that is right? he is still having the coughs at night and now in the day when he has been running round or outside in the cold. The doc was quick at diagnosing asthma but didnt give me any support by talking me through it, i had to ask her what would be causing it. i had to ask my mum who suffers with asthma all about symptoms, causes, what an inhaler does! i have to take him back in 3 weeks, ill go and see my own doc as i couldnt get into see her on weds.

    thanks all for our replies and advice its greatly appreciated. heidi x

  • Heidi, I think that your doctor has given you Ventolin for him - this is a bronchodilator that will help to open up the airways when he's getting symptoms, but will do nothing to help his condition if it is asthma. And also, I don't want to be alarmist, but if it is asthma, and it's as uncontrolled as you describe then it might not be enough to help him when he's getting symptoms. Have they told you to give him just one puff? What, per day? Per attack of symptoms? I am baffled that the doctor hasn't prescribed a steroid inhaler if they do indeed think it is asthma.

    I strongly, strongly urge you to ring the helpline on here and talk to the asthma nurses - they are absolutely brilliant and very knowledgeable about medications. Tell them everything that you have told us and the doctor. And/or go to see a different GP at your surgery and get a second opinion - get a proper firm diagnosis and proper treatment plan in place? It sounds as though your boy's getting worse day by day and if he's getting to the point where he's fighting for breathe and is frightened as you describe then I would call 999, especially if the Ventolin isn't doing much to help. I hope that I'm not sounding alarmist, but asthma can be a serious condition when it's not under control - and you little lad is under control, he's getting symptoms. We were quite shocked by our lad's hospital admission and I'll do anything to avoid him getting into that state again.

    Please let us know how you get on! xxx

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