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Is my child having the start of an attack

Hiya, I am knew to this so sorry if sounding a bit dim.

My son (just turned 6)was diagnosed with asthma in the summer. He seems to get attacks then he get's a cold or he is in the cold weather. The last 2 day's however my son say's his heart is beating fast and needs his inhaler. Does this sound like the start of an attack???? I am trying to teach my son to understand when he needs it and to use it himself. (under my supervision) But i am not sure if he is having me on or if this is for real. If someone can hel that would be great.

Thanks X

5 Replies


This is a very difficult one without seeing your son. For me when i have an attack my heart beat rockets but everyone is different. Also symptoms present themselves differently from child to child and adult to adult. Apart from fast heart rate has he any other symptoms wheeze,coughing, short of breath cannot talk in sentences etc which could be indications. Ask him to describe how he feels in his own way i know its terribly difficult with children as my niece was asthmatic when she was a kid. i must also stress that if you are unsure you can always phone Out of hours surgery and ask their opinion.

Sorry i am not much help but i am not a medical professional and would hate to give you the wrong information/advice.


I dont think your child would be kidding you about something like that. I dont think a child could ""invent"" that sort of symptom.

As Lola says it sounds more heart related than asthma but this can be secondary to breathing proboems or something he would notice more than being breathless or tight chested? I know I dont always notice my symptoms immediately and im an adult!

If in doubt defo give out of hours or nhs direct a ring for a medial opinion. Take care.

Rose xx


Hiya, Thanks for replies. I have booked to see Asthma nurse tomorrow to see. His peak flow is between 130 and 150 which is low for him and has been for 3 weeks now since he got his cold. On his brown and blue inhalers twice a day and more blue if needed if and when he has a coughing fit or wheezes.

He is only 6 years old (just) so yes he would make some stuff up for attention to get out of doing stuff. Most kids try it on. This is why i am checking before dismissing it. (i am treating it, not ignoring it by the way)

Thanks again. X


My heart rate goes up dramatically when i am struggling with my breathing (and salbutamol can increase heart rate - so if he's using more then that could be a factor) and obvs HR isn't something he can make up. Its really tough, I could imagine a child seeing asthma as a good way to get attention, not do something he doesnt like, or even just sees inhaler as a novelty. I think you're better not looking at when he DOES ask for his inhaler (as a)yu never want to dismiss breathing troubles and b)there are so many things that trigger asthma that it would be impossible to know that he hadnt been triggered) but more at when he doesnt. If you find that anytime he is doing something he enjoys, but would normally trigger his asthma, something like running around in the snow, and he is consistently not having difficulty breathing, then it might suggest that his asthma is currently reasonably well controlled.

I also think that if you try to not fuss when he is needing his inhaler, so its not reinforced, obviously if he is really ill he needs your attention, but if its a case of his chest feels a bit tight and he wants his inhaler to make it a bit easier, then it doesnt need a load of attention or to stop doing stuff. if he doesnt see his inhaler as a tool to get out of stuff or for attention then he wont ask for it when he doesnt need it.

i think its a good thing that you're getting it checked out - better safe than sorry! Peak flow is also a good way of checking his lungs that he doesnt have control over (at 6 i would expect he is too young to be really faking symptoms like that) and so if thats gonig down i would expect he really is starting to struggle!

hope he feels better soon!


I also find my heart sometimes beats harder or faster when I'm having breathing problems, so your child's description being a sign of breathing difficulty isn't something beyond possibility.

I obviously don't know your child, but my recollection of childhood was that adults far too often assumed attention getting when in fact the need for help was genuine.

If you fear your child is just trying to get out of chores, homework, or other responsibilities perhaps there is a way to make it clear that responsibilities can be postponed or traded for other responsibilities but not escaped due to illness? It may take some creative thinking to come up with trades/alternate responsibilities. but that way you could honor his symptom report without jepardizing what you want to teach him about responsibility.


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