Asthma UK community forum

child seasonal asthma

My 5 year old DD has seasonal asthma where she starts coughing in the early hours of the night and doesn't suffer much during the day. Just recently she seems to be getting worse and we are giving her the preventative inhaler 3 times a day and using the blue inhaler when needed at night usually at least 2 times. I am concerned as she is coughing alot but I don't know if it is the asthma as it is wretch more than a cough she says it feels like there is a hair in her throat and she doesn't like it. She gets worked up I use the blue inhaler then after 15mins have to use it again, it seems she is coughing at least every 30 to 45 seconds. Until she calms down she doesn't improve. I am worried as I don't know if it is her asthma or if she is being manipulative as on previous times I have tried taking her downstairs and sleeping on the couch with her and she stops coughing, also if she gets in our bed she seems to stop. We have an appointment with the nurse on Thursday but it's hard to talk with my DD there if it isn't asthma but she needs help in another way. I have noticed today she is coughing a bit this afternoon whether it is because she went out playing in the cold for a while not sure. So much going on sorry for the lengthy post.

3 Replies

If it is asthma, there could be a coincidental time effect - ventolin can sometimes take a bit of time to fully kick in. It could be that by the time you have settled in for a cuddle with DD, the ventolin coincidentally is finally having an effect and she is calming down.

Even if there seem to be emotional factors, I'd be slow to label it as ""manipulative"". Spasmodic coughing regardless of cause can trigger anxiety; conversely anxiety can trigger asthma or habit cough. Having mum close by may simply be ""medicine"" addressing an anxiety component.

If both emotional and physical factors are in play, it might be helpful to get a read on which comes first? Or do they feed on each other?

You, of course, know your daughter better than anyone. However, even at age five, any attempt to discuss emotional factors perhaps ought to include her in some way because after all, they are her emotions.

Any emotionally driven solution that allows you to get more sleep (e.g. teaching age-appropriate self-soothing techniques to deal with anxiety) would also need her cooperation. If there is a way to discuss emotional components with that normalize them and don't make them seem less 'real' than asthma, then it would be easier for her to take them on board as a way she can help herself feel better.

And in truth, emotional factors are 'real' - in their own way they cause pain as real as physical pain.



Being new to asthma we didn't want to pass it up as anything else. She is a very anxious person at the best of times.

We just thought asthma was more a breathing thing than a cough. Obviously in the middle of the night you aren't thinking straight as a parent you need sleep too.

We need to learn more about asthma. She has said she doesn't like the cough I guess it is irritating to her too. We were kind of hoping the ventolin would be quick at fixing the cough rather than the delayed timing it takes.

Thanks again any help to a new parents trying to understand asthma is welcome.


your little one sounds similar to my daughter. She has been on a preventer daily and ventolin as & when for about 2 years now. Her patterns of symtpoms is a slight indication of a cold, and then that night it's as soon as she lays down in bed, the coughing starts and doesn't stop. She might cough and have numerous doses of ventolin for approx 2 hrs when she finally falls asleep for a couple of hrs then the cycle begins again.

This goes for 1-2 nights of a dry, whistly cough, then the mucus loosens up and it's a chesty cough whch disturbs her for a few nights (always, only at night, as soon as she lies in bed!)

You may already have had all this, things to try might be: anti allergy mattress covers, duvets, pillows. Decreasing cuddly toys in her bed (dustmites), or if she has a special cuddly that goes to bed the nurse I spoke to on the helpline advised putting it in a bag, in the freezer for a min of 6hrs every 1-2 weeks, as this kills the dustmites.

I have gotten into a routine of regular hoovering my daughter's bedroom floor and mattress much more regularly - I don't know if it helps, but it certainly wont harm.

It's so difficult to find the balance of helping your child without creating a habit (the wanting downstairs). My daughter is almost 4 and the last ""episode"" she had, we had no choice but to take her down in the middle of the night as she was coughing and gagging so much she was being sick. Once she was downstairs, it settled down, she still coughed but only every so often. It's hard to figure out if it's a kind of attention-seeking type thing with them!

I phoned the helpline on this site last week, best thing I have done since my little one started with all these symptoms, the nurse I spoke to was ever so helpful and reassuring. You should phone and have a chat! (sorry this is long!)


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