Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

How do you know it's asthma rather than just a cough?

(8 Posts)
UnbridledPositivity Thu 15-Nov-12 16:17:38

Yet another asthma thread, I know. I have red the other ones, but they didn't contain any info relevant to what I'm wondering about.

DD (3.8) always has a cough for ages when she has a cold. At the moment she's had one cold after another for a couple of weeks with a cough that doesn't seem to go away properly. Sometimes it sounds 'mucousy/productive', but often it's kind of squeaky sounding. It's sometimes worse when it's really cold outside, but also in the middle of the night, keeping her awake.

I don't want to bother the GP if all they are going to say is 'yes, it's a cold' and consider me an over anxious pfb mum. But the other day I read something on a thread about cold air and asthma, and that plus the incessant nature of DD's cough at the moment made me wonder. No one in my family or her dad's has had asthma.

So if your children have it, what made you first take them to the GP to ask about it?

My DS is 2.4 and has asthma but its not an official diagnosis as they wont say it definately is until they are about 5 when they can reliably use a peak flow meter. However I have been to the GP with him as he always gets coughs that last for ages and you can hear him wheezing, he unfortunately also had an asthma attack when he was 23 months old. We therefore have been prescribed a ventolin inhaler and spacer which we use when he has a cough and now know that if his breathing becomes more difficult then we take him to A & E for a nebuliser.
In my situation I am asthmatic so we were on the lookout for any symptoms in our children, have you your partner our any of her aunties uncles or grandparents have asthma?
In your position I would take her to the GP and tell them your concerns, if they dont prescribe anything at least your conerns are on her medical records for when she is older and if it gets worse

PropositionJoe Thu 15-Nov-12 17:03:21

I have never got to the bottom of this! dS1 was very wheezy one night when he was 3 or 4 and was given soluble steroids and a brown inhaler. He has now been on the inhaler for 10 years without another attack. He has very rarely needed his blue inhaler, but it was always kept in school, just in case. Every time I have tried to get him off the brown inhaler (which I do without him knowing, by letting his inhaler run out) he has developed an annoying "he hum" type of cough and occasionally in summer (he has hay fever) got a bit wheezy. We have done peak flow charts and they have always been pretty steady, but I have never done them when taking him off the inhaler as I have never wanted to draw attention to the fact that I am doing it.

I'm pretty sure his current inhaler ran out six weeks ago, no ill effects yet. He has a blue inhaler in his schoolbag, just in case. Fingers crossed!

Sirzy Thu 15-Nov-12 17:52:36

Ds is just 3 and was diagnosed when he was 12 months old.

With him it was a pretty easy diagnosis to make as he had been in and out of hospital so much and had day to day breathing problems.

I would say if you are concerned at all then go to the gp and get checked over.

UnbridledPositivity Thu 15-Nov-12 19:49:35

Thanks for sharing your experiences. With all your children it sounds as if there was an event which made it obvious. With DD it doesn't seem like that, but if it's still bad tomorrow I'll take her to the GP.

She's not wheezy as such, just her cough is a bit, and her breathing sounds kind of restricted, but not bad enough that anything needs to be done right now, she was happy to run around and play earlier.

Sirzy Thu 15-Nov-12 22:25:57

If you get the chance record her cough/funny breathing on your phone then you can show the doctor. Children never cough when you need them to!

UnbridledPositivity Fri 16-Nov-12 19:28:06

Good idea, thanks. Seems to be getting a bit better now, but still bad in the cold air outside.

Surrealistrhinoceros Fri 16-Nov-12 21:29:29

I have just visited GP with similar symptoms in 4 year old DD - horrendous night cough if a cold virus looks sideways at her, cough on exertion and in the cold air. She's had one attack of breathlessness/ croup last winter but generally my concern was the cough and our mutual desire for a nights sleep!

We have a low dose steroid inhaler to try for a month and report back. So on that basis I'd say worth a try. Good luck!

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