Asthma UK community forum

Children and cold weather

Hi,

My 4 year old has asthma. He is on clenil modulite every day to stop his nighttime cough and has his ventoline when needed.

He started on clenil in March and its been working perfectly. We need to up his dose when he gets a cold but other than that he is fine and rarely needs ventoline.

He started school in september and all was fne. Now the cold weather has set in and they must go out to play morning, lunchtime and afternoon even in the freezing weather he is struggling more. He is fine at home but as soon as gets to playground and runs around he has a coughing fit. On Friday he was out all lunchtime it was 2 degrees but felt a lot colder as it was very windy he said he struggled.

Does anyone else have young children that struggle in the playground in the cold weather and how do you manage it. Has the school ever agreed to keep them in if its below zero? I know most schools including ours say there is no reason for a child to stay in. They must go out in all weather.

Thanks

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That's negligent of the school to make all children go out.. surely they have other children who are asthmatic and triggered by cold (a lot of people are)

The only real advice is:

1. Stay indoors and stay warm

2. Wrap a scarf around your mouth so that the air is a bit warmer when you breathe it in

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I was also going to suggest scarf round his mouth. To be honest tho seeing as he’s 4 if you pop into school as say his asthma is bad they should be keeping him in a break/lunch with a friend for company.

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I’m a quarter century and more older than your son, but I always wrap a scarf around my mouth and nose when I go outside if the air temp is much less than 5 degrees. It definitely works.

But I’d take issue with the school. Put bluntly, asthma kills people. During the time he’s there the school have a legal duty and responsibility for his well-being.

Go see the headteacher. Get the school to review their policy. You pay tax so you’re paying his/her wages.

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Thanks for the replies. Obviously if it wasn't for his asthma I wouldn't be so worried about being in the playground.i wasn't sure if the school would just say I was being an overprotective parent.

Another mun said she spoke to the school and said could her child stay in as had just recovered from an ear ache and they said no. Hopefully they might feel they have a duty of care to an asthmatic.

I will book at appointment with the teacher and head to discuss it. Just wanted to get some opinions first in case the school thought I was mad.

My son said he doesn't mind sitting on his own in the class looking at a book just to stay inside. I know it must make him feel bad for him to stay that.

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My daughter has the same problem at a village school in Bucks. Granddaughter is 6. We try to teach her to request her ventolin to take before she goes out but of course she forgets. Situation isn't helped by a teacher who 'has asthma and so do her 3 children and its best to just get on with it'! Blooming infuriating. She ends up missing school due to the following infections.

I think they have a rule whereby a child isn't supposed to be left alone in the classroom so needs a teacher to stay with her. In fact Daisy will sit quietly reading or doing art & is more than happy to stay in.

I recommend getting your child a 'Buff'. Available on Amazon. I wear a child size myself as I've a small head and the small stays up over my nose. I wear the pure fine wool, I prefer natural fibres. They're patterned or plain coloured so you can match a school uniform colour. Daisy wears hers all the time & pulls it up when going out. The fabric is treated to wick away breath moisture. Brilliant, I couldn't do a winter without mine.

I do hope this helps. P

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I agree with everyone else. I'm an adult and I use the scarf tip but if it is really cold and my asthma is playing up I just try to avoid going out because it is not good for me - why should a 4 year old be made to? I have no children and so no experience with how to deal.with schools, but I agree they should not be forcing him out into an asthma trigger. Would they force him to eat something he was allergic or intolerant to? I think a lot of people don't understand that cold air is not harmless if you have asthma - they probably think fresh air can't ever be a bad thing. Perhaps Asthma UK has some materials you could show them to explain?

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It might be a good idea for me to take some literature in or even ask his consultant for a letter to say the cold weather sets his asthma off it not just me saying I don't want my child getting chilly.

School policy is there is no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing. Children will go out in all weather including rain unless it is torrential and a slip hazard.

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Absolutely do not be afraid to take the school on. They will be inundated with requests for "special treatment", and will have guidelines, policies, protocols and regulations coming out of their ears over all sorts of things. But if your boy feels unwell when he breathes in cold air then that's a problem. If that unwellness is an exacerbation of his asthma then it's more than a problem, it's a potential killer. Ask yourself this, if the school don't recognise that cold air can make asthma worse how on earth can they be trusted to recognise a more severe asthma attack and, critically, to respond in an emergency? People with no experience of asthma tend to underestimate the seriousness of the disease. I've found that to be true even of A&E staff.

Time for a candid discussion with the head teacher.

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I too have a 4 year old asthmatic son. He has also started school this year. He has always found cold weather triggers his asthma (also coughing is the main symptom). At his latest asthma review the dr upped his regular meds to avoid this very thing. (We have recently moved to a rather cold Scotland and I was worried that keeping him in during cold weather meant quite a lot of the time!!) He is now on 400 mcg clenil and montelukast. It hasn’t eliminated it entirely, but it’s much lessened and doesn’t stop him wanting to go out now. Dr also advised using ventolin 20 mins or so before going out which definitely helps (if he or teacher remembers!) and the scarf trick (which even if he only manages to do for the first 10 mins seems to help) It may be that all he needs is a slight increase in his meds and then he can play outside. Obviously, if you’ve tried that and it’s still causing him a good degree of trouble going out in the cold, I would try to avoid cold air but might be a shot. Good luck x

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Thanks. Maybe I should have a word with his consultant to see if we should up his dose or try the Ventoline before going out.

I suggested to teacher he has it is he is coughing a lot after playtime (though she usually forgets) might be worth doing it before playtime.

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Hello! Does your son have an asthma plan? I had it written on his plan to have indoor play on cold weather days and given to school.

I have a 6 year old with asthma, he's usually allowed to choose a friend to stay in with him but it does tie up a member of staff. I think most schools take the out in all weathers approach which is fine but not if it can result in a hospital admission. He also has a cough as his main symptom, which is really difficult to convey and even more difficult at this time of year when there are so many coughs around. I'd keep persevering with school! I sometimes feel that because asthma is relatively common it's not always treated as seriously as it should be.

We walk to school and he has his blue inhaler before we leave to house to help with his symptoms and he covers his mouth and nose with a scarf.

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I spoke to the teacher briefly this morning and sent a note in explaining that I would like him to stay inside in very cold weather due to his asthma.

The teacher seemed to think it was something they could look into. They all stayed in today due to snow and tomorrow I imagine they will be in due to the ice.

I've suggested a meeting to discuss his asthma plan which I plan to write up and hand in to them.

The school has a no scarf policy. I will look into the buff though thank you.

He seems fine out in for a brief time. We made a snowman today after school. Fully wrapped up and just out for ten minutes. It really seems it's the length of time he is out and the running around in it.

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Hi 123cat

There's some information and questions you might want to cover in the appoinment with your son's teacher here: bit.ly/2tapmCV

Hope that helps,

Dita

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