Asthma UK community forum

Totally confused


I'm new to asthma and I thought I understood things but today has proved otherwise!

My 4yr old was diagnosed in October last year and her only symptom is coughing fits, no wheezing. I've discussed this at length with an asthma nurse who assured me that asthma can just be coughing. So I came away armed with the brown and blue inhalers. Both inhalers seem to have assisted the coughing.

I give her one puff of brown morning and night. The blue I use as and when the coughing starts.

The coughing seems to be triggered by cold/damp weather.

In November she had a really bad coughing fit and the blue inhaler didn't seem to help so I called NHS direct who advised me that if she didn't improve within the hour to go to A&E. Thankfully she did and improved so a hospital visit was avoided.

So this morning the same thing happens. I give her 10 puffs of the blue inhaler to try and stop the coughing. After an hour and a half I took her to A&E.

I was basically told that as she was not wheezing the blue inhaler would not do anything to help the coughing and I shouldn't be giving this inhaler to her. Even though I explained this contradicts the advice I was given by the GP/nurse.

I was sent away and told to ring my GP to get an appointment for today so that they may be able to prescribe something for her cough!

I came home and spoke to the GP on the phone who told me not to take the advice of A&E and that they are wrong. I now have a follow up appointment with GP tomorrow.

I am so confused, I'm not even sure if my daughter has Asthma now and also feel like a time waster/ over protective mother!

Apologies for the essay but if anyone can offer any advice I would be really grateful - thanks x

3 Replies

I can't believe you were told that at A&E. I saw my sons specialist respiratory nurse at the hospital yesterday and she said wheezing or persistent cough are signs of respiratory distress and should use inhaler for that. Her recommended way of administering is give 2 puffs, wait a min or two if still no improvement then 2 more up to a max of 10 puffs and if still no change I was told he needs to be taken to A&E. She said people can either have coughing, wheezing or both!


Thanks,, what you've said matches what i've been told by the asthma nurse.

The trouble is, after this morning I am going to be very reluctant to return to A&E in the future. Obviously I don't want to put my daughter in any danger though!

The attitude of A&E was as if I had taken her in with a common cold!

I am shocked by the contradictory advice provided by medical professionals, I think this will be a big learning point for me.


I have to admit it is a bit hit and miss sometimes who you see in A&E but please don't let this one visit put you off following your instinct. I had one incident similar were i was made to feel like a hypercondriac so left it a bit longer the next time and my son was really ill. Will your GP see children as an emergency, I have done that before. Although now just take Thomas to A&E as he has very difficult asthma we always get sent to the hospital anyways.


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