3 year old girl cough variant asthma? - Asthma UK communi...

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3 year old girl cough variant asthma?

Jennymummym profile image

Hi all I am new to this site, I found it through google :) , my 3 year old daughter has some form of asthma although the doctors say she is too young to officially diagnose. She is on centil 100mg every day twice a day and ventolin when needed up to 6 puffs. We have had 3 admissions to hospital due to this where she is pulling in her chest and struggling to breathe. Her triggers are mostly unknown to me but I do know when the weather changes she develops a cough. It is very bad it keeps her up all night and will heave with it. Doing some research I came across cough variant asthma and I really think she has this. Her nursery worker also agrees as her son had the same condition. She only wheezes when she has a viral infection. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice for me please? I worry about her so much when she’s coughing in the night it is a horrible sounding cough. These episodes happen every month. I have kept a diary of incidents to show the doctor when I go back. Thanks for ready and sorry for the long post.

13 Replies
Hidden profile image

Hi Jennymummym

Welcome to the forum. It's really hard to diagnose children under 5, and sounds like the doctor has given you a trial of treatment and you are tracking symptoms. There's some information here that might be useful: bit.ly/2uhgAjQ

Can I suggest giving the Asthma UK helpline a ring and speak to one of our specialist nurses on 0300 222 5800 (M-F, 9-5)? They'll be able to talk you to about the symptoms and think about possible triggers and with a plan to talk to your GP and review the medication she is taking.

Do keep us posted about how you get on,

Take care,


Jennymummym profile image
Jennymummym in reply to Hidden

Thank you for replying to my post, I have an appointment at the doctors this morning with my daughter so will see what they say I will be taking my diary with me so hopefully they can give me next steps. I will give the asthma nurses a ring thank you x

Hello Jennymummym, am sorry to hear that about your baby girl... I would like to get a few more details.

1. Is the drug you're using "centil" as you wrote or "Cetil"?

2. How far apart are these 3 episodes?

3. Have all the 3 episodes been associated with a viral infection?

4. Do the episodes cause any change in her speech voice? Hoarseness, etc?

Jennymummym profile image
Jennymummym in reply to MichMD

Hi michMD thank you for replying, sorry for the mistake i didn’t get much sleep last night she is on clenil modulite 100mcg , the admissions first one was 2015 the other 2 have been winter 2016 then more recently September this year. 1 was associated with a viral infection and the other 2 are not and this episode today is not related to illness either. Previous episodes where she was wheezing made her voice hoarse yes . At the moment this episode appears to be just a constant cough every few seconds.

Update * I am just back from the doctors, she has no Virus chest is clear which is great. Her cough is very persistent been advised to up the dose of the clenil to 2 puffs in morning 2 before bed.

MichMD profile image
MichMD in reply to Jennymummym

Okay... So what's the working diagnosis?

Asthma is all they can tell me , no virus detected

Asthma is all they can tell me , no virus detected

Hi Jennymummym, I could have written this myself!!

Our 4 year old has had breathing problems since she had bronchiolitis at 9 weeks and she was finally diagnosed with Asthma last year. Her triggers are cold weather, pollen and an intolerance to tomatoes.

We don’t really get a warning of an asthma attack as she doesn’t wheeze; her airways just go into spasm and she coughs continually. It gets worse at night. I have a little monitor so I can check her saturation levels for my own piece of mind and this shows they drop when she has her coughing fits as would be expected. We have found that often after ten puffs of blue inhaler her coughing doesn’t ease so on numerous occasions we have been advised to go to A&E. However, once presented there sometime later, her airways have opened and she is fine.

However, after her most recent attack, for about a week after she woke up displaying the same continual cough but her oxygen levels didn’t drop which confused me. I googled her symptoms and CVA came up straight away. This is exactly how our little one has asthma, but explaining this to the paediatrician was a waste of time! He just calls everything Asthma.

We have found a few things that help:

There are breathing techniques which you can teach your little one during the day which help to calm them during an episode; just google a breathing technique for called Buteyko which we adapted.

Also on the first sign of a cough use your blue inhaler as a preventive and give two puffs every 4 hours as this will help to keep those airways from spasming.

Ask for some allergy testing too so you can see if there are any triggers such as pollen etc as our little one takes a low dose antihistamine every day.

She also takes Montilukast tablets daily which is a non steroid medication and keeps the airways open as much as possible.

Hope this helps

Hi Dichiopipe, thank you for commenting. It’s nice to know I’m not alone as the doctors look at you like your crazy when you mention CVA! Thank you for your help I will look into everything you mentioned. I hope your little one is doing ok. X

Tconnor profile image
Tconnor in reply to Dichiopipe


This sounds the same as my daughter she never has a wheeze but the cough is constant at night when she has a cold/ then it turns into croup. My daughter has had croup every month since Oct up to March this year. She is also on montulukast ventolin and seretide. I worry when the winter months come in.


I have had allergic and cough variant asthma all my life.(now 61) Was diagnosed at age 3 ish.Then moved house to a new GP. As a child I coughed incessantly especially at night. In those days my mother was told that I was making it up,was a drama queen, had pleurisy,needed to sleep flat on my back without a pillow(!?) ,was attention seeking and was a medical mystery. Apparently I was not asthmatic as I rarely wheeze( Istill get told this 50 years on by some nurses and doctors! )

Finally at age 13 a different GP sent me to Great Ormond Street and I was treated properly for asthma and was put on INTAL. I now use a steroid preventer (Qvar) and Montelukast plus ventolin as required. I do despair that cough variant asthma is still largely ignored! It exists. If I stop my asthma meds I revert to coughing my guts up. Otherwise I am mostly fine and live a Normal life so long as I am not too silly!!!

Keeping a diary is a good idea. Hope that this is sorted out.

Thank you for replying Hun, I am keeping a diary currently at the stage of not been able to take her off ventolin she needs it 3 times daily . If I do take her off it her cough and wheeze comes back.

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