Asthma UK community forum

Anyone able to relate?

Hi All

This is my first time ever on a forum and I am really just looking for someone who understands what we go through. My son has had two asthma attacks in the last month - one when we were on holiday which was pretty nerving and one last week which required admission. Sometimes I come across horiible doctors and nurses who dont take you seriously until he vommits all over them or until his O2 saturation confirms he is struggling so it is always a relief when they agree 'yes this child needs oxygen and is in quite bad shape'. My son normally starts by complaining of a sore tummy and then the cough starts - which is relentless - he then starts to vommit mucous etc and whatever his last meal was. I try to relieve it with the salbutamol, which sometimes works although I hope he can not be overdosed on this. I invested in an oximeter which is helpful. At one point in hospital the otherr night he dropped to 85%. Is this bad? Also usually when he is bad he needs to take 5-6 breaths to count to 20. Is this a technique that anyone uses? If anyone has any other techniques, hints or advice I would be so grateful. Apprehensive about the winter ahead especially when there is snow forecast for October as he really struggles with the change in temperature and cold air.


4 Replies

Just wanted to say ""Welcome!""

I'm sorry to hear your son is doing poorly.

Not a parent of an asthmatic, but perhaps I can still share a few thoughts as an asthmatic.

Tummy ache: a few months ago there was a thread (I think in the parents and carers section) where tummy aches and asthma was discussed. Your son isn't the only one who gets this way. I imagine if you search on the keyword ""stomach"" or ""tummy"" you might be able to find the post.

Sabutamol: my doctor cautioned me to watch the heart rate because using a lot of ventolin can make it go up. Also if he needs a lot of sabutamol, it can deplete potassium. If he can manage food, bananas are a good source. But as with everything - it is a good idea to consult your child's pediatrician and verify anything you read here. We can't give medical advice.

Best, beth



Hi Danielle and welcome to the forum :) Im not a parent of a child with asthma, but have had it since childhood, and have nursed children with asthma. Its not uncommon for children who are having an asthma exacerbation to complain of tummy ache. Im not sure why, but it is commonly a symptom in children, and it mentions it here:

85% oxygen saturations in room air in a child should be concerning to medics, and should be maintained at over 92% according to up to date guidance, using supplemental oxygen if necessary. You can find this info here (not A&E treatment is considered outpatient treatment):

How long has he had an asthma diagnosis? How old is he? Does he see a respiratory consultant or paediatrician who manages his asthma?

I wouldnt suggest relying too heavily on the pulse oximeter in terms of judging when to get help - a lot of the ones you can buy arent very accurate and many things can affect their readings - I would tend to rely more on what you can see in terms of his ability to breathe, speak, and use of accessory muscles to support breathing. This outlines one problem with pulse oximetry which can be potentially dangerous if not recognised: ambient light can also affect readings, as can anemia, movement and irregular heartbeats.

Does he use his reliever before going outside in the cold air?

Breathing in warm steam (safely!) can help some people in terms of relieving the cough and loosening mucous, but for others it is a trigger - its individual. Is the mucous he is coughing up clear or coloured? If its clear, its not infected, but what his irritated lungs are producing because his asthma isnt well controlled. If its yellow, green or rusty brown, its infected.

Have you seen the child related advice on the asthma UK website?

Hope that helps, it must feel so stressful watching your child experience an asthma attack



Hi Beth

Thanks so much for getting back to me. I am so delighted I joined the forum. Our daughter who is 18 months is called Beth! Love the name!

Whenever Conor takes bad, generally after the doctor on call tries to help with nebulisers and doesnt make any progress he is referred on up to a&e for oxgen treatment etc. I have seen it maybe take 15 nebulisers to get his levels on the up. However just when you mention the ventolin affect on the heartrate when he has been hooked uo to machines (while being nebulised and after) an alarm is generally going off to indicate lowered oxygen levels and sometimes the heartrate alarm is going off with tachycardia flashing above it. Is this something that I should ask the Doctor about when it happens or should I be confident they know what they are doing? Our GP/Asthma clinic manage his asthma. Do you mind if I ask you what would normally be the first symtom of an attack for yourself?

Thanks again


A big thank you to you also Lynda for taking time to reply. I found the top link very useful AnD some of the tips regarding the cold air.

Conor is seven now and was diagnosed at two. So at times I have to spot the symtoms myself as he is very easy going and tends to take it in is stride until he gets very bad. He has come home from school before in a state as they have failed to spot the signs, this is not a slur on them as when you are not used to it you probably dont identify it as quickly. Unfortunately I cant have him by my side 24/7. It is just lovely having people relate


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