Please help!

Hi I'm new here. I don't have asthma myself but my partner, 8 year old daughter & now my 6 month old baby do. My partner & daughters asthma is pretty bad but manageable but my baby seems to have it so much worse. Every night he coughs & coughs & coughs. The cold is a trigger so heating is a must. I know this creates dry air so I have put damp towels over the radiators & I have got him a humidifier for his room but that seems to create damp which as you all know is not good either. I'm getting about 2 hours sleep a night for the past 3 weeks. The Dr have given him & clear inhaler & also a blue one. They help in the day but I'm pulling my hair out at night. It so sad to see my boy suffering when he is so small. He is too young for an actual diagnosis but its all there, no denying its asthma. I would be so greatful for any advice & tips to help him. I'm getting so tired, I am forgetful & disoriented & babbling plop like I have lost my marbles. We have our first asthma clinic on 30th Jan. Thanks in advance to anyone that responds to this. 😊

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  • Hi there, It's so awful to have sleepless nights, I can get exactly where you are coming from. My daughter had terrible croup as a baby and then was diagnosed with asthma at 3 years old. As your family has a history of asthma it is very likely that the baby has it too, however in babies it is a bit different because they have such small airways that they can get blocked and inflamed very easily, and so be wheezy and sound as though they have asthma even when the problem might be something else.

    It might be worth making sure that he does not have an allergy to milk, (if you are not still breast feeding)

    I assume that you have been give a large volumatic spacer to use with the inhalers with the face mask for little children? This is essential and if you don't have this you should ask for a prescription for one. I used to find sitting in the steamy bathroom with the shower running very helpful for my daughter. Also if he has a blocked nose getting one of those syringes to help get rid of the snot if he can't blow his nose yet, which is a big problem for babies.

    Its good you've got an appointment at the clinic, I would try and ask for a referral to a specialist paediatric respiratory specialist if he continues to be very unwell.

    I'm not sure any of this any help, but very good luck.


  • Everything is helpful at the minute. I called the doctor rhis morning and have an appointment at 4.10pm today. I don't think any of us can cope untill next week.

    I have two spacers. A small one with teddies on, and the volumatic, both have the masks. He hates them. He shakes his head from side to side so he hardly takes in any of the inhaler. He does not have any other cold symptoms. Just the dry cough & this morning that dreaded wheeze.

    I will be asking about the peadiatric respiratory specialist. I didn't even know they existed so thank you & thank you for your reply. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰

  • He's not unusual in hating the masks: I've heard that said, and seen it written, of other babies and small children. You can understand why they don't like it: they're struggling to breathe and then someone comes along and tries to put something over their mouth and nose. Instinct would say that's going to make it worse. With a small child the promise of a treat once it's over might help, but that won't work with a baby. Only thing I can think of is something to distract him - something very brightly coloured perhaps.

  • Have you thought about a bed mite allergy

  • Nope. What is this? He has a brand new cot & matress. All his bedding is new too.....well I say new, a few months old. I will google this now. Thank you.

  • Both dry air and damp air can be bad. First of all, is there ventilation in the bedroom? If not, then you need some. House dust mite love warm moist places. Do you get condensation on your windows? If so,make sure you wipe them down every day because the damp on the windows encourages mould. I would suggest you get a Weather Station, cost about Β£20 that show you the time date, temperature and humidity. They say the comfortable level is around 40% humidity.

    The bedding must not be feather, feather down, or wool as these are all known allergies.

    Speak to the Asthma UK nurses, they will know more about Asthma in babies. Are you in contact with the Asthma Nurse at your surgery?

  • Our first asthma clinic is on Monday 30th Jan. I booked both my kids in as my 8 year old also suffers. We recently moved house because of mould & damp. It turned out that my girl had a nasty allergy to mould spores. The rashes were unbelievable. We moved here in Summer & everything seemed fine. Winter arrived and BAM both of them are constantly poorly. My daughters asthma seems to be under control now with her new inhaler but its my baby boy that I feel so helpless for.

    Where can I get a weather station from please?

    I got him a humidifier but last night his room smelt damp. I too thought the same as you, that is just as bad for him. There is no condensation in his room. All his bedding is cotton and he has a breathable anti-allergy cot quilt too. Do you recommend to keep using the humidifier? Its a vicks 750 warm air. It kills 95% bacteria but I could smell damp paint if you know what I mean?

    Thank you for your advice. πŸ˜‰

  • The weatherstation is good advice I often give as I use one myself. I bought mine at Maplin. The built-in part that measures relative humidity is called a 'Hygrometer'. I think around 45% is probably average. I don't know much about humidifiers but bear in mind the mineral and chemical content of the water will become deposited as dust - some recommend using filtered/distilled water only.

    I'm a big believer in hepa air purifiers (simple type that just draws room air through a fine filter. Avoid ioniser ones). As air circulation is a good way to control condensation and thus avoid blackspot mould, an air purifier will accomplish that and additionally catch a lot of particles.

    I think a little Dettol when you wipe window condensation off might limit fugus.

    Cheers, ollie

  • If you type Weather Station in the search part of Amazon, you will find loads come up. They may have some in other electrical stores, Argos might have some. The one we got was about Β£25 I think. I cannot advise you about the Vicks Humidifier because I don't know anything about children or their lungs, as I never had any. Just had Asthma all my life. I would open a window a crack if you can to let some fresh air in, and keep the room ventilated. The problem about Humidifiers is that they can grow mould themselves if not cleaned nearly every day.

    I do find that in summer, when the humidity is high, I cannot breathe, so I have a dehumidifier. I tend to dry my clothes indoors and find that that is enough to keep me comfortable in winter. If the air is still too dry, my skin soon tells me, as I start itching.

  • I feel for you and the sleepless nights! My two kids were terrible sleepers and 8 years later my youngest still doesn't sleep well. Fortunately they didn't inherit my asthma (as far as we know yet!). I think damp is worse then a dry heat for breathing, so you may want to try experimenting without the damp cloths. Also, having it too warm might not be the best. Try to keep the heating to room temperature or just above. It's hard with a baby to know what is best, but experimentation until a solution is found is probably the best. Good luck and I hope you get answers soon. x

  • Thank you. The heating is on a timer. Its set to come on at 12.30 for 1 hour. Then again at 3 for 1 hour then 6 for when we get up. Its set like this as my girls biggest trigger to her asthma is cold. All winter she is poorly. My baby stats coughing as soon as the radiators are hot. But then he don't stop coughing ALL night. Honestly its driving me crazy. I feel like I can't win. I might completely turn all the radiators off upstairs & just leave the heating on downstairs. Heat rises so Im thinking it should stay warm but without the dryness. Do you think that would work? I completely understand about the damp etc. I got the idea of the damp towels from google lol. Ive been googling everything & trying everything & I will keep trying everything untill I find something that works so I am with you there, experimenting is probably the key.

    Thank youπŸ˜‰

  • Awe bless you both, it must be really destessing for you and your baby son. Please try not to worry and make sure his room is not to hot. Let me know how he gets on. Love Bernadette xxx

  • Thanks Bernadette. I have a feeling I will be on this forum alot so I will definately keep you updated and share my tips when I find one that works ha ha. πŸ˜‰

  • Sleep deprivation is torture - you have my every sympathy. If he is not coughing so much during the day, what is different? Is he more upright? e.g.nodding off in a baby chair? I don't think you need damp towels and a humidifier; either would do. I don't know how babies are to sleep nowadays as it changes with each generation, but if he is on his back, would he be better on his side or front? Sometimes anti-histamines help, but if I were you I'd call the asthma nurse on 0300 222 5800 as you'd get expert advice there.

  • ChrissieMons, standard advice now is not to put babies on their fronts for sleeping. I believe it has now been proved that it increases the risk of cot death.

  • Thank you. Apparantly they are not allowed to be put on their side. Its back only. I have been being naughty & propping him up with pillows untill he is almost sitting upright. I follow all the guides from the professionals as I have an 8 year old also with asthma but nothing is working with my little boy. The only thing that different is his room but he will nap in the day with no problems. He is in there longer at night, that really is the only difference. Im going to ditch the heating in his room tonight. I will keep you updated. πŸ˜‰

  • Honestly, when my first was born, it was on the front. 2nd child had to be on his side. Grandchild is supposed to be on her back, but refuses to sleep like this (and this is from birth!!) and always sleeps on her side. Go with your instincts, and your baby's. Sometimes the professionals are not 100% right.

  • I know the advice does seem to keep changing, but the 'back to sleep' campaign, which encouraged mothers to place babies on their backs for sleeping, was actually introduced in 1991. Within a couple of years of it being brought in in the UK, the number of cot deaths had been massively reduced - by about two thirds in England and Wales I think. That is rather conclusive evidence.

  • I believe you ha ha. I have an 8 year gap between mine & everything is different lol 😊

  • Hello Kim, welcome to the forum.

    You've already had lots of good advice, but when my children were very small (and one of them was asthmatic) I tried to ensure that the house temperature never got above 20 degrees C, I also never had the radiators on in any of the bedrooms (still don't). Every morning I would throw back the bedcovers, hump up any pillows to form an arch, open the window for at least half an hour and let the bedrooms, and the beds, air out - even if it was sub zero outside (I still do this in my bedroom). Shut the doors to the bedrooms to keep the rest of the house warm, and keep them shut after you've closed the windows. Later on in the afternoon you can open the doors to the take the chill off before bedtime. As WheezyAnne has said, towel down any condensation on the window to prevent mould forming (mould is not good for asthmatics). I'm assuming that as he's a baby he's still in a cot. Don't be tempted to store toys or other things beneath his cot - they will become very effective dust traps, and they will also partly prevent air circulating beneath his mattress when you air out the room. And talking of dust traps, radiators make good ones; they're also good at churning the dust they trap out into the air along with the heat they produce, so you need to keep them dust free if you can. If you have the standard type of radiator with metal grills on the back (rather like tubes) long thin dusting brushes can be purchased from DIY stores to deal with any dust that might have gathered there.

    Hope it all goes well on January 30th.

  • Thank you. You're right, I have had some great advice from you lovely people. I'm suprised at how many replies I have. I will try airing. I have such a complex about keeping my girl warm I don't even think of things like opening windows in this weather ha ha. Right now I am going to try evrrything as it is all worth a try. Im honestly exhausted. Thankyou for your reply. I really do appreciate all the help & tips. πŸ˜‰

  • Thank you for all your lovely replies. My babies name is Danny & he has an appointment to see the doctor at 4.10pm today as he woke up this morning wheezing. I know when they get wheezy like this its usually time for steroids. So I will put a post on this thread tomorrow with an update. I'm going to turn all radiators upstairs OFF tonight and just leave them on medium downstairs to keep the upstairs warm. I'm also not going to have the humidifier on at all as I am worried this is creating damp air. I'm also going to air his room an dust before he goes to bed, checking the windows for any mould spots.

    Your help, advice & tips actually mean a lot. Thank you so much.

    Kim xxxx

  • You're very welcome Kim.

    Good luck this afternoon.

  • Just another thought, have you tried raising top end of cot legs on bricks or similar, so that baby safely has head higher to sleep? I used to do this with my asthmatic son and do it now with grandchildren for bronchitis or similar. Doesn't solve whole problem. It does help to keep them asleep a bit longer. I feel for you. You're a good Mum- certainly doing all you can. Good luck.

  • You do have to be a bit careful when doing this. I did this for my younger son when he was a baby (for a different medical reason) and abandoned it after I went upstairs to check on him (he was obviously very distressed) to discover that he had slipped down the cot and was completely beneath the cover - fortunately only a lightweight cotton sheet as it was summer. Now granted he could be a wriggly baby and it's possible his movements made him slip, but as I have pointed to someone else who has made the same suggestion on this post - gravity always wins. This happened twenty plus years ago; I don't know what the current advice on this is.

    As someone who suffers from reflux (as do so many asthmatics, let's face it) I do have the head end of my bed raised to help with it, and I always end up migrating down the bed during the night. The difference for an adult is that we if we end up slipping beneath the covers, we will extricate ourselves; small children and babies can't do that.

  • Point taken. I don't like the sounds of that. I can only say that it hasn't happened in any significant way to us. It was originally a doctor's advice when my three month old son had bronchitis. But as you say, times change. Though just wondering how high an angle you had the cot set at....!

  • I can't remember. I don't think it was all that high because I know I was uneasy about doing it from the start. Perhaps guidance should be sought as to what is considered safe.

    For reflux in adults the recommendation is about five inches plus (and as I've said I always end up slipping down the bed - which is more than mildly annoying if I want a sip of water during the night but can't reach the glass), but what the recommendation would be for a baby in a cot with breathing problems I don't know. Lower than that I would think. Can you recall what the recommended height was for your son?

  • I seem to remember that the doctor said try one paperback (average old Penguin size) each side and if that doesn't help, try two. We needed two, but the baby was in a carry cot on stand. Once he graduated to a normal cot, we used one brick each side.....remember that bricks generally have an indentation on one side, so lower than it sounds. The indentation was useful (and is for grandchildren) for securing the cot without danger of slipping off as getting child into and out of cot. Anyway, I would rather we now play safe with our babies, and if you had a problem perhaps we now should think again. The grandchildren, by the way, are in these modern baby sleeping bags not under covers, and both my daughters are careful to position young babies from the start with feet very near the bottom of the crib/cot, yet another precaution picked up at anti-natal classes.These factors are perhaps keeping our method working....though cot raised slightly only in times of trouble. Thanks for your warning though.

  • Our son was out of a carry cot by the time the head end of his cot was raised? What you're describing is around two inches (5 cm) at most. Having done a bit of experimenting with some books I don't think the angle we had would have been much more than that, but it's difficult to tell. It certainly wasn't anywhere near the five inches I use for myself today. Of course the recommendations about keeping babies near the bottom of cots didn't exist nearly twenty four years ago (or I don't recall being told it). It sounds as though more precautions are in place now. I have a feeling I did tell someone what had happened. The cot we had was one that could be turned into a bed when he was older, so it was on the large side and he would not have been placed close to the bottom of it. And as I said, he could be a wriggly baby.

    After it happened I put him flat again, other than a small baby flat pillow (I'm sure you'll remember the type) and eventually he was put on medication for acidosis and reflux which helped to deal with the problem.

  • Thank you. I do raise him. At one point he was sleeping almost sitting up. There were a few nights we had him sleeping in his pram as we could sit him up safely in there. I know pillows are not the safety way to prop him up. It seems we have found a solution. The heating was definately the issue here. For the last 3 nights all radiators upstairs have been turned completely off just leaving the downstairs on with the thermostat on 20*c. He has slept ALL night and yesterday he even had a sleep in untill 9.30am. It feels great to get a full night sleep but more importantly know my boy is not struggling anymore.

    Thank you for your kind words.

    Kim πŸ˜‰

  • Also maybe a little help from the newly prescribed montelukast powder πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰

  • Very good news then. So glad you're all sleeping again. The temperature decision is always tricky but just warm enough, but not below 18 in his own room, is good for sleeping I find. I have a thermometer in my grandchildrens room while they're very young and staying over. It's one that shows the max and min temp over last twelve hours (Amazon) which is helpful to be sure all stays good. Good luck and good health!

  • Hello everybody!

    I have asthama and last month it was severe. I was thinking it is because of cold but the reason is mould in my windows. My trigger is cold so I used to close all windows in winter and my radiators turn on all the day. When I noticed that black thing in windows I reported to the council. The inspector told me that I need to open and clean the windows of bedrooms every day. The condensation is the reason of mould. Now mould is disappear and my asthama is also settled.

    Kim my 6 months baby had milk allergies and eczema last year. In summer vacations I went Pakistan. In that hot weather the problem of his eczema and milk allergy solved. If you manage to change the climate of your baby will feel better.

  • I forgot to mention, once baby is up, fling the bedding over the Bannister's if you have e them to both air the bed and bedding. Those little dust mites love the warm moist bedding! Same for everyone else.

    Let us all know how you get on.

  • Hey everyone. I went to the doctor who said my baby has got a wheeze every time he breathes out at the bottom & side of his left lung. He had bronchilitis back in November which ended with a trip to hospital and nebulisers as he was really struggling to breathe. The doc said the cough may well be the bronchilitis cough as that can take up to 3 months to clear. She openly told me he needs a steroid inhaler but there isn't one for under one year olds. She called a peadiatrician friend of hers & he also said "nope, we need to wait it out" but she wasn't happy just sending us away. She got out her medicine guide & she found something called Montelukast. Little sachets of powder containing antihistamine. She told me the blue inhaler probably wont work. To keep up with the green inhaler & give him the montelukast once every evening for 14 days. I have turned all the radiators off upstairs and its nice an cool but not cold up here now & baby has not coughed once....YET. I'm not using the humidifier again, his room got so moist the wallpaper bubbled with damp. Fingers crossed ey. Its 10.30pm & it looks as though tonight is my lucky come the long awaited zeds ha ha. You're all lovely. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‰πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜

  • That does sound much more positive. My consultant said that I need to keep the humidity less than 50% so I have monitors and use a dehumidifier if it gets too damp. I believe that damp is worse than cold. I think the recommended temperature of a room for a baby with two layers, (babygro and blanket or sleeping bag) is 18deg C. Have you tried putting the head of the cot up on books or blocks? Not too much so that baby slides down to the end! Surely this must be safer than pillows.

  • Take it from me, you don't need to raise the head end of a bed by much to end up sliding down it. Gravity wins every time. The head end of my bed is raised to help with reflux at night and I always end up migrating down the bed. Adults can cope with it because they will extricate themselves from the bedclothes as they slip under them; that won't be the case with small children and babies.

  • When my baby granddaughter had reflux, raising the head of the cot is what was suggested. Hope things are improving and you are all getting more sleep.

  • Yes, I had similar advice for my son when he was a baby. I abandoned it after I went upstairs to find out what was wrong (he was very obviously very distressed) to discover that he had slipped down the cot and was completely beneath the cover. Fortunately it was summer and the cover in question was a lightweight cotton sheet.

    I agree with your concerns about the use of pillows though:-).

  • Does the baby cough during the day? There is a condition where if the head is in a certain position it will partially interfere with the airway. The body will respond with reflex coughing.

    Worth investigating the above.

  • You poor dear. I have had asthma since I was 2 that's 63 years! Have been through the whole evolution of treatments over the years. Ask for advice over non medical treatments including how to make sure your home environment is as asthma friendly as possible. Asthma can be triggered by all sorts of allergens among them dust mites , smoke, damp, cold. I found that I was asthma free as a child when my bedroom carpet was replaced with vinyl, I had a new mattress and bedding . Cotton is best washed at high temps 60c. Do look seriously into all this. Good sleeping conditions are essential and can reduce medication. Don't do that without doctor's advice but get really good advice on all the advice. Nhs great at mess but not so good at lifestyle advice I've found. Good luck snd thinking of you.

  • Thank you. I went to asthma clinic. What a waste of time. It was just the nurse who I didnt find helpful in the slightest. I wont be going there again. I have had more help & advice from this forum than any doctor. I think you have a point about the carpet as someone asked me.....What is different at night? And the only answer is he is in his room & he has carpet. They have stopped the montelukast now. He has the cough back. Absolutely driving us all bonkers. Thank you for your advice.

    Kim x

  • My iPhone self corrected wrongly.! I meant that the nhs is great at meds not mess. That sounded really ungrateful. Hope you understood. Agree with all the posting about airing bedroom and bedding and not letting damp and mould add to problem. Xx

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