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Toddler asthma

Hi, im new here and my 2.5 year old boy was diagnosed with asthma last week. His night cough is terrible, we were up most of the night last night, the ventolin did nothing despite him having the full dose so im wondering if he needs a preventer or different inhaler?

Also any tips on how to give him his inhaler would be much appreciated its always such a battle.


Carole x

21 Replies

Hi Carole

There's a few of us on here that have brought up asthmatic children & my absolute starting point is always to say that if you do the right things & get the right treatment then he will very likely grow up largely untroubled & with it all under control.

However, the very young age can be incredibly stressful & sometimes you can feel like it's never ending.

I think if the cough is persisting & the medics are certain that it's asthma (it can be difficult to diagnose in small children) then I'd say a preventer is the obvious next step. Probably a low dose of becotide but each doc has their own view on what works best.

To administer to a small child you would normally use a spacer device (you might already be doing that with his ventolin), but toddlers being toddlers they will tend to resist! I think as with brush your teeth, don't put sweets on the settee & broccoli is good for you, sometimes you just have to find your inner Supernanny & find the balance of reward & discipline to get them to do it.

In my case, my son was football mad so getting him to understand that he was more likely to get picked & be able to play eventually did the trick, but every child will have their own 'buttons' that persuade them it's worth doing.

Good luck.


Hi Carole, welcome to the forum.

My younger son was three when he was diagnosed with asthma. At first our GP didn't want him to go on a steroid preventer Inhaler (which is what the Becotide Minushabens mentioned is), because he was so small. After four emergency call outs in four months, however, he was put on one. It did make quite a difference.

Minushabens also mentioned spacer devices. We had one of these as well. With our son he very quickly came to associate the spacer device with being able to breath and making him feel better so we had no issues with this. If you don't have one of these already, see if you can get one (we got ours from our GP, but our local practice is rural and has a dispenser on site). Make sure whoever you get it from explains to you how to use it - they can make quite a difference.

Other things that can help: we put hard flooring down in our son's bedroom - wall to wall carpets are not ideal for asthmatics, they are less easy to keep dust free. We also made sure that his bed (and his bedroom) was thoroughly aired out every morning by opening the window for an hour or so and throwing back the bedclothes as well as arching up the pillows to allow air to flow underneath them. Whilst talking about windows, if there is any condensation on them, towel them down to help prevent mould forming (a known trigger for asthmatics). We also tried not to store anything under his bed, doing so really does create a variety of dust traps. Finally, we never put the radiators on his room, so it was kept cool (and as I'm an asthmatic as well we never have the radiators on in our bedroom either). Radiators not only radiate heat, they radiate any dust that is on them as well (and they are very effective dust traps). We usually open the doors to our bedrooms in late afternoon to take the chill off.

Hope this is of some help.


I send you sympathy! I am relatively new to this too. Our daughter (5) was diagnosed at 3. It was mild at first but after starting school she has had a run of infections and needs a preventor and still she's had to have other oral steroids for flare ups etc.

It's definately a good idea to go back to your GP and stress how hard it is for you. I hope you get more structured help. The asthma uk phoneline was useful to me too.

-K x

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Thank-you for all the replies. I have taken on board what you all said and have blitzed my sons room, dusted, hoovered cleaned the windows etc. I have been on to the docs and he has been prescribed a low dose preventer. Just had his first dose, not sure how much he got but definitely some so hoping for a bit of a better night tonight.


Some good comments above already, but in relation to dust etc, while a clean, cool, well-aired room is definitely a good idea, you should ask your GP to arrange some allergy tests for your son. There's no point removing carpets if he doesn't have a dust allergy for example, and he might have an allergy that, if controlled properly, will significantly improve his asthma. Good luck.


Thank you, we have a review in a month so will definately mention allergy testing then. Does anyone know how long it takes for preventers to start working? Had a pretty rubbish night again unfortunately x


It's not instantaneous - or it wasn't with us (and from what've read on this forum I think that is the case with others). I rather suspect the time it takes varies from individual to individual. The time of year won't help - winter is never good for asthmatics, and if you live in the UK the weather is very damp at the moment, which is bad news for most of us. My own asthma (usually very well controlled) has begun to play up over the past two weeks. Not badly, but I'm finding that my chest is a little more tight than is normal in the mornings and I needed to take ventolin during the night on one occasion last week (a very rare occurence).


Preventers are for the long haul so don't expect to see instant improvements. They don't really do very much to deal with ongoing attacks but hopefully what you will see over coming weeks or months is that his symptoms just become less problematic albeit they probably won't vanish altogether.

Out of interest as well as the above suggestions do you have any pets?


No pets, only a fish but doubt thats causing any issues ha ha x


It would certainly be a first in my experience if it was:-)

Does he have a favourite soft toy that he takes to bed with him? Please note that I am definitely NOT going to suggest that you should get rid of his favourite cuddly toys. Our own asthmatic son had a much loved cuddly toy that always went to bed with him (we've still got it, much patched and missing a few stitched details, but that son is now in his twenties and no longer living at home). These toys can, after all, be washed - though I would recommend using a gentle non- biological detergent to do so. But you're probably already doing this.


Haha...yes my kids grew up with fish & reptiles for that very reason.

I have a violent allergy to cats & my son to horses (discovered whilst pony trekking on holiday one time followed by a mad dash to the local A&E), thus giving the perfect answer to my horse-mad daughter's 'why can't I have a pony' questions.

Being the charmer she is she tells me every Xmas she is getting me a kitten.


Well the good news is we had a much better night, he only coughed once all night and noticeably less during the day too. He seem to have developed an upset tummy, its not bothering him and I think its probably because of the new medicines. Anyone else experienced this?


Brilliant news - the improvement that is, not the upset tummy.

I don't recall my son having tummy problems after being put on his inhaled steroid. The medication is, after all, inhaled, and if being used with a spacer device the amount getting into his stomach should be minuscule. What has he been put on?


He is on clenil modulite 50mg, 1 puff twice a day and still got ventolin as and when he needs it.


Second attempt at sending this - so I hope it doesn't pop up twice, apologies if it does, the first one appears to have got lost in transit.

Clenil Modulite is not a medication I have any experience of, so I don't know if what you are describing is normal. There are, however, others on the forum who do use it. The other place to look is on the information leaflet that came with the medication to see if tummy upsets are listed as a possible side effect there.

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It doesn't mention it in the leaflet but to be honest he has always had a sensitive tum. He is mildly dairy intolerant and allergic to bananas so the bad tummy could just be totally coincidental or one of his odd reactions to things. Hopefully it will clear up soon x


Allergic to bananas..is he also allergic to latex?


He has never been in contact with latex as far as I know but did a bit of reading up on the banana thing and avoid kiwi too as I believe the latex in both cause the allergy


Hi again, bit of an update. The preventer has really helped his night cough already after only a week and he is becoming calmer when taking his medicine, managed to do it on my own for the first tine this morning. He is still suffering with a bad tummy but I think that may be an entirely separate issue. Thank you all so much for your help and advice x


From my experience, Clenil Modulite doesn't cause GI upset in people. It is probably unrelated to his meds :)

Just as an idea, if you've got 5 minutes, some red material, scissors, and a bit of duct tape, you could make a superhero cape for his Ventolin. I'm 17 and mine has one attached (left over from when I was doing work experience in a nursery school, so that if I had an attack, the children would know which was my 'hero' med, and also so that I wouldn't look uncool taking it in front of them!). I just made some red fleecy material into a cape shape, tucked it into the blue outer casing of my inhaler, and secured it with some tape (which you can't see). I certainly got a lot of 'oohs' and 'aahs' and 'oh my gosh are you a superhero?!?!?!' from the 3-4 year olds!

Just a thought :P

-- Matt


Thats a genius idea thank you, will definitely be getting crafty later ☺


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