Coughing 2 year old: PLEASE could... - Asthma UK communi...

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Coughing 2 year old

Rach30 profile image

PLEASE could someone advise me as what to do for my daughter, mainly at night her asthma coughing is awful, poor thing is tired come the morning, children’s hospital started her on a round of blue inhaler, then doctor has prescribed her this powder substance (sorry, I can’t remember the name, begins with M)

I just need some help for this coughing to stop. 😢

25 Replies

Not all coughing is asthma related - for example post nasal drip and reflux can cause similar symptoms especially at night so it would be worth asking a GP if those could be part of the picture.

However they do obviously need to consider asthma and trying firstly a blue inhaler and then preventer meds is the way they do this.

The blue inhaler (when taken as prescribed, ususally a couple of puffs taken/breathed in one at a time through a spacer) should help/stop the coughing and should last about 4 hours. If it's having no effect at all I'd definitely be asking them to consider other causes to the coughing. However I assume it does help as they've moved on to (presumably) montelukast.

Unfortunately trying preventer meds such as steroid inhalers and montelukast takes time to kick in properly so it won't be an instant fix. How long has she been on the montelukast?

I know sometimes they try montelukast as a first preventer medication but the ususal route would be to try a (usually brown) steroid inhaler twice a day so it might be worth asking your doctor about this, especially if she's been on the montelukast for several weeks.

It's tricky because so many things cause coughing and there are many viruses about which would cause coughing in anyone, asthma or no asthma. Often that's worse at night because post nasal drip is worse when lying down. If asthma is part of the picture things le post nasal drip can worsen or set off asthmatic reactions.

Sleeping propped up can help, also keeping well hydrated is important. It might be worth giving the Asthma UK nurses a call for advice too. 0300 2225800 Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm

Rach30 profile image
Rach30 in reply to twinkly29

Thank you, yes she was on the brown inhaler first, that worked a tiny bit, then after the hospital visit, the blue inhaler helped, but her GP didn’t want her on that too much so prescribed the montelukast. It did kind of help but the last couple days, the coughing is bad at night and now nursery has just called to say the coughing is relentless today (she doesn’t normally cough as nursery).

Calling doctors again tomorrow as they won’t talk to me out of booking times in the morning .

Thank you for your help and advice 🙂

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to Rach30

Ah that makes sense - the meds. They will want to optimise the prevention meds because they are treating underlying inflammation whereas the blue only relieves symptoms. If she needs more of this at the moment, that's ok as things are unsettled as that's what it's for. They might give something like oral steroids to treat a flare or they might look at additional preventer meds but if they were beginning to help it might "just" be a flare at the moment. It's difficult when things are new and triggers are unknown but it could be colder weather, damp weather, viral things, an allergy, anything basically.

If she's coughing give her blue inhaler. If it's not helping or not lasting as long as it should, call your GP or call 111 for advice. She can have more than 2 puffs through the spacer (one at a time not loads pumped in at once!) But if she is needing a lot then ususally further advice is needed.

Ask your doctor to look at your daughter's throat my 4-year-old grandson has been treated for asthma for the last 2 years and 8 months ago the pediatric respiratory nurse looked at his throat and it was inflamed she said that his tonsils were swollen and they would touch the back of his throat causing a cough ....worse at night when he laid down.

He is still taking the Ventolin and my daughter uses a self bought nebuliser. The Gp has said he needs to have the infection noted 6 times by a doctor to be referred to a specialist... we have had one hiccup where he saw a doctor and she wouldn't look at his throat and said it was allergies.

There is nothing worse than watching our children ill especially in the dead of night.

Maybe record her cough on your phone so your doctor can see what is happening.

Good Luck

Rach30 profile image
Rach30 in reply to DannyKay

Thank you, I have recorded her and will show the doctor.They must be sick of me, but it’s something that’s definitely getting me down as much as my daughter as like you said, there’s nothing worse hearing her coughing all though the night and cried for me and all I can do is cuddle her and hope she falls into a deep sleep.

Thank you

I had flash backs when I read your post. I had exactly the same problem with my (now 14!) daughter at the same age. I remember it as a really difficult time.

Is it a dry powder inhaler (perhaps Clenil Modulite?) that your daughter has been given? Or something she takes orally? If your daughter has been prescribed Montelukast (taken orally), in my experience, it works wonders for some but makes no difference at all for others. A regular brown steroid inhaler (preventer), through a spacer, certainly helped my daughter but it does take a few weeks to start calming things down and then you need to stick with it and make sure you have been shown properly how to use it. So many inhalers get dished out without specific instruction.

My daughter still used to get the cough again when she got colds but it was limited to 2-3 nights. I feel sitting propped up helped her (we used to call it her "Bed nest"). For my daughter, leaving the window open also helped greatly, I think due to the moist air. I used to really wrap her up warm and have the window open. If you live in a very urban area, depending on levels of pollution, this may not be so beneficial. I also tended to avoid using the central heating as I felt it was drying her airways and making the cough worse. We used to keep the house at around 18C in the winter months, which I know some find chilly, but it's amazing what you become totally accustomed to. We spent a lot of time with windows open, wearing fleeces!

I know it's probably not much help now, but my daughter's nocturnal cough got less and less with age to the point, some time ago, where even when she gets a cold it doesn't cause a problem. I think part of the problem is that when they are v young they get so many colds that the cough from one has not disappeared and then they are straight into the next one. As they get older they get less colds. My daughter is still asthmatic and takes a v low does of inhaled steroid every day (50mcg x2) which is enough for her to have no symptoms and not ever need to take her blue inhaler.

Rach30 profile image
Rach30 in reply to SophPete

Thank you ! Thank you !! I will try this tonight, we live out in the sticks a bit so the air isn’t too bad.I wasn’t sure if to leave her windows cracked open a little and give her the fresh air or to keep her room warm… 😩 I’ll definitely try this tonight until I get more help from the doctors.

How does your daughter take her blue inhaler? Is it with a spacer with a mask attached? If not, then try that. Use normal deep breathing, just deep in and out, no need to hold. Works well for me when having an attack or coughing fit.

Rach30 profile image
Rach30 in reply to Troilus

Yes she had a spacer with the mask attached. 🙂


We are all so different. SophPete mentioned that moist air helped her daughter whereas I do better with drier, warm air. Cold air brings on asthma in me very quickly - and sore throats as my body temperature drops.

Sleeping in a more sitting position definitely helps most asthmatics if they are having problems and I would definitely recommend it. Be very careful of dust / dust mites / allergies in the bed linen / pillows etc. Also be careful of dust in the carpet. Some laundry soaps cause problems with some asthmatics. When you are lying in bed the smell of the laundry soap is all around you whereas during the day you're moving around and there is air flowing around you so you don't notice it as much. I buy a sensitive laundry detergent with no perfumes.I find the same with shampoos. If I go to a hairdresser, I can usually cope during the day, but I would need to wash my hair free of the perfumed shampoo before I go to bed. (I now bring my own shampoo if I go to a hairdresser).

Does she start to cough at any other time? What might be the triggers?

Keep an eye on her health and her immune system. Is there a food that may trigger her asthma? Does she eat enough foods that contain antioxidants that help the immune system?

I wish you and your daughter all the best.

Rach30 profile image
Rach30 in reply to Tugun

Thank you, I’ll try everything everyone has mentioned. My daughter is a fidget bum and I try propping her up in bed, but no sooner is she down the other end.

I will strip her bed tonight and wash everything in sensitive powder as I did when she was tiny and see how I get on.

Her main triggers and pets so we avid all contact with animals, she’s a great eater at nursery, fussy at home though. I will go though her diet this weekend to see if there’s anything I can introduce.

Thank you for your help

Troilus profile image
Troilus in reply to Rach30

Hi Rach. When you prop her up try putting a cushion under her knees. Whenever I have had to sleep propped up, I too shuffle down the bed to a flat position while I’m asleep. I use a pillow to keep me in place, but that will be too big I would think for a little one

Yes I too react to cold outside and don't sleep EVER sleep with open windows. In my family it triggers asthma and sore throats to which a lung infection would always follow needing antibiotics. My son was the same from age three (and we lived on the edge of the Sahara where the temperatures dropped at night). I recall holding him all night long in a sitting position which helped. Sometimes I'd have a steaming kettle in the room. I knew nothing about allergies then. He was prescribed a horrible medication for post nasal drip. Nowadays my family use saline drops to help clear nasal passages preventing post nasal drip. There's a product in the UK called Sterimar, I believe there's one for little'ns, its sterile seawater. In France they use saline drops even for tiny weeny babies from little nebules as a matter of coursejust for a cold.Has your daughter been diagnosed with asthma? If so does she have a little silicone mask fitted to the spacer for both preventer inhaler and the rescue ventolin inhaler? This is what you should have been supplied with if she's had a diagnosis.

Mould spores, dust mites (especially this time of year), pet dander are the most common triggers. Hard work if your daughter is allergic to dust mites to eradicate dust from bedding, carpets etc.

Learn as much as you possibly can about childhood asthma. Perhaps a call to the helpline? Its one of tge most horrible experiences to have a precious child coughing boots up all night.


Rach30 profile image
Rach30 in reply to peege

Thank you Peege, yes she has being diagnosed with asthma, and does have the spacers, one from the GP and one from the hospital. Tomorrow I’ll be stripping her room and cleaning it down. Then the whole house and then see how we get on.

Thank you for your advise.

peege profile image
peege in reply to Rach30

I dont know if you could afford it but getting allergy testing might be an idea - I'm thinking it might be difficult to get this out of the GP/NHS - although definitely worth a try. If you know what she's allergic to it's half the battle won. I only found out in later life after tests under a consultant that I'm mildly allergic to aspergillus & allergic to mould (after spending a small fortune on hyperallergenic bedding, kept my bedroom spotless for years including vacuuming tge mattress🙄). The hospital tests I had were for dust mites, pet dander, aspergillus, mould & something else I cannot remember. There were 6 different scratch areas on my arm, it didn't hurt.I often think now that had my son been tested on return to UK at 6 years old it would have saved so much difficulty. I was told he may grow out of it at 7 or 14, he's 13 when it eased, then he had two summers of bad hay-fever then all better. From then he was prone to chest infections after a cold (and still is as an adult) but very rarely has asthma (he lives in the South of France though).

Rach30 profile image
Rach30 in reply to peege

I asked for a blood test for her, but the doctor said it was a bit much to be taking blood from her right now, but I’ll suggest this to the doctor tomorrow and see what’s said. 👍

peege profile image
peege in reply to Rach30

Mine was 6 little scratches on the arm and a tiny drop of a different allergen smeared on each

Back again! Just read peege’s reply that reminded me - when I was a child I had some kind of smelly lamp in my bedroom which definitely helped. Vicks vapour rub made it worse.

Rach30 profile image
Rach30 in reply to Troilus

Yes, I tried the vicks before I knew what she had and that made her worse too,

peege profile image
peege in reply to Troilus

Did you ever gave Friar's Balsam Troilus? God it was awful

Rach30 profile image
Rach30 in reply to peege

No, haven’t tried that one.

peege profile image
peege in reply to Rach30

Sorry, it doesn't exist now. Toxic awful stuff we had to 'help breath' in the 60’s, thought Troilus might remember.

Troilus profile image
Troilus in reply to peege

No, I think I escaped that one peege 😁😁

But I do remember being given a Potters catarrh pastel. Didn’t get through it though. Two sucks and out it went!

Hope you both find some relief and sleep improves soon. It sounds torturous for the poor little lady x

Rach30 profile image
Rach30 in reply to Kelly100

Thank you Kelly, fingers crossed she’ll get some sleep tonight. 🙂

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