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advice 5yr old undiagnosed asthma

Hello, my daughter is 5, with no previous asthma symptoms (apart from coughing slightly when she runs around too much) In September she was admitted to Hosp with breathing difficulties (the day before she was coughing a lot, dry cough) after an xray they diagnosed pneomonia. Her oxygen levels were low and it took her a day to respond to the oxygen and nebulisers. She was kept in and on discharge given an inhaler and reducing regime. We followed this and after 2 weeks she was back to her normal self, until she caught another cold 1 wwek later, she was unwell but not as bad as before, Dr said not to use inhalers, just gave her antibiotics and said to keep her off school. She recovered OK, but seemed to get more breathless. A week ago she started to cough again (she had a cold too) she woke on Monday and her breathing was so fast it scared me, she couldn't talk. An ambulance came and confirmed her oxygen levels were v low. Again she was admitted to hosp, this time she didn't respond to the oral meds and oxygen. She ended up with 2 iv lines, administering magnesium sulphate, hydrocortisone, fluids and another drug I can't remember. She was very unwell indeed, after 2 days she came off the oxygen and other meds, she is home now and we are continuing with the inhalers as instructed. Her follow up isn't until January. Does this sound like asthma to you? I am very anxious and worried about how to spot the signs, and also letting her go back to school. Any advice, reassurance would be greatly appreciated. I remained calm throughout each hospitalisation, but now the seriousness of how unwell she was has really sunk in.

Apologies for the long post.

Thank you for reading

4 Replies

It could be - sounds like she needed the drugs they give for severe exacerbations of asthma . It could also be her airways reacting to triggers (colds etc) having had the pneumonia. Having had it myself recently for the first time, I was surprised at the knock on (6 weeks later) it's had and having on my asthma.

Could you talk to gp in the meantime for some advice or thoughts?

Hope your daughter continues to recover and then stays well.


Thank you for your reply Twinkly,

I have been to the gp, he was quite unhelpful (the discharge notes hadn't reached the surgery yet) came away feeling like I was making a big fuss. It's reassuring to know it can take many weeks to recover. I have taken my daughter out twice in the last 4 days (v little trips to the local shops, I have driven as she is still so exhausted) but as soon as we get outside she just coughs non this quite normal too? I think I will call and ask to speak with another dr.

she was so poorly in hosp and kept saying she was 'fine' yet when she just scratched her tummy (v lightly) she screamed the house down and collapsed on the floor in a heap!!

Thank u again for replying!!


It has been normal for me - any possible trigger (damp out, cold out, smoke (inc other patients' visitors stinking of it!) etc) is affecting me at the moment which but assume is due to sensitive airways and so on.


Hi Tillytom 14, Apologies for poor writing, but am v tired! Firstly just want to say, I am so sorry you have had to go thru this with your daughter. How is she now? My son (now age 6 and half) had severe/difficult to control asthma from age 3 until recently & was hospitalised many times. Each time was extremely distressing for both him & i and even now i still have flashbacks from experiences in hospital & i am learning to process it all! I felt v frustrated, alone & exhausted with it all until he was referred to a respiratory consultant & an amazing Asthma Nurse Specialist who stopped mě going mad with it all!

I think after such a serious stay in hospital you should be more supported right now. Has she been checked again since discharge & had her saturation (oxygen levels), heart rate, respiration etc checked? All are important to check she is recovering well? My son (and myself too as i am asthmatic) can také 7 days or more before breathing returns to normal & often he got re-admitted after being discharged too early!

I cannot say if your daughter has asthma as it is up to her doctors to decide, but if she has the capacity to go downhill quickly/ and or you feel anxious/unsure of what to do, you should ask your consultant for an asthma care plan (step by step guide of recognising what stage her breathing is at & when to seek medical attention. If in doubt, shout! You deserve to be supported & looked after. I also recommend ringing oné of the Asthma U.K nurses (number on homepage) they are experienced & will be someone for you to talk to for advice. In meantime, trust your instincts & maybe try a different gp explaining exactly how poorly she was hope this are not alone! Good luck :)


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