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Post your questions here for a Q&A with Dr Mike Thomas of Asthma UK

(63 Posts)
RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 27-Apr-11 10:55:37

We're pleased to say that Dr Mike Thomas, the Chief Medical Advisor to Asthma UK, is going to be answering your questions about anything and everything to do with asthma.

Asthma affects 5.4 million people in the UK, and although there is perception that it's no big deal, three people die of it every day in this country.

May 3 is World Asthma Day, and Asthma UK is asking everyone affected by asthma to speak out about how asthma makes them feel and affects their lives. The idea is for sufferers, their family members and friends to join forces, share their stories about how serious asthma can be, and help put asthma on the map.

Please post your questions for Dr Thomas here.

Thanks,

MNHQ x

Hello! My DD (4) is seen every 6 weeks at the local Children's Hospital due to severe asthma. She is on Seretide 125, Singulair, and Ventolin.

There doesn't seem to be any 'triggers' for her asthma, and seems to be an issue of controlling the symptoms. What are the percentages of children who out grow asthma?

Lastly, what is best practice for transporting a child with asthma to hospital? I have been told by the GP that she needs to go by ambulance if her O2 levels are 90%, however I don't know what her O2 are!

turkeyboots Wed 27-Apr-11 13:17:37

Hi. Thanks for doing this. My DS (18m) has had 2 bouts of brocolhitis (sorry for the spelling!) where he was hospitalised. Since then he gets really wheezy and needs ventolin and seroids when he picks up a bad cold or virus. My practice nurse tells me this means he has asthma and it will get worse. But most of the time he is fine, so should I be treating the sympthoms only or should he be taking preventive medication (nurse suggested this, but GP over rulled her).

My 4yo seems to have mild asthma, my question is, how do you explain to a small child how to take deep breaths from the spacer? She does little gasps, and I'm sure it's not working because of that.

mumtoaandj Wed 27-Apr-11 13:28:58

my 18 month old has also had bronchiolitis at 8 weeks, then 2 chest infections every month for 6 months, once we introduced the brown inhaler he has improved. however, since christmas he has had 3 chest infections-all respond to amoxycilin and steroids- are chest infections different from asthma- could these be asthma attacks?? at the start of each chest infection he pulls in with his breathing at his neck and under his ribs and his breathing rate increases, this then progresses and the cough and crackles begin. i never know when to ring for help? we live 30 minutes away by car from the local hospital so always sit it out (always at night?)
i have been told differeing things about his breathing - that they are viral wheezez, bronchiolitis, allergies, chest infections, viral infections...i never know what is wrong?

herbietea Wed 27-Apr-11 13:53:41

Message withdrawn

stealthsquiggle Wed 27-Apr-11 14:07:12

At the opposite end of the spectrum - DS (8) has what seems to me to be mild exercise-induced asthma. He gets very short of breath during competitive sport and struggles to keep up despite doing so much sport that he should be very fit - the symptoms sounded very familiar to me (as a mild asthmatic myself) and the GP agreed, so he now has a salbutamol inhaler to take before games.

So my question is - what are the chances of him growing out of it, or of it getting worse? DH is very keen for DS to be able to dive when he gets older (and DS is very keen too!), and current guidelines say that he wouldn't be able to if on any steroids.

Sirzy Wed 27-Apr-11 15:47:00

Ds is 17 months and currently on 150mg twice daily of clenil and 4-6 puffs of ventolin at least a day. He is due back at the consultant next month who has said if he still needs ventolin daily they will change his drugs.

He mentioned montesculat (sp - the granuals) but I have read mixed reports on these - are they a safe option for such a young child?

MadHairbaaadonroyalweddingDay Wed 27-Apr-11 16:44:18

Do you think people with chronic chest conditions should get free prescriptions? People with some other chronic conditions get them, and rightly so, but there are many, myself included, who would die without medication, so rely on it, but still have to pay. Any chance of this ever changing?

Also, what do you think can be done to change perceptions of lung disease when it comes to DLA for example, or ESA? Because it is often a fluctuating condition many people do not receive such benefits and then struggle greatly because they are still unable to work due to the fluctuations and exhaustion this causes. With the new ATOS reviews for those already on DLA do you worry that asthmatics and sufferers of other lung diseases will lose benefits and enter into vicious circles of further illness from stress and loss of income?

Guacamole Wed 27-Apr-11 17:34:47

I have a slghtly strange question if you don't mind? I am asthmatic, I have been since I was about 7 years old. I am currently on Seretide 250 and ventolin. When I became pregnant I stopped Seretide (personal choice, GP told me I could continue with it) and strangely even without Seretide I didn't need my ventolin once, it was as if pregnancy cured my asthma. 3 weeks after giving birth I had a severe asthma attack and now require my Seretide and ventolin again.
Why was I totally symptomless while pregnant?

My DD (nearly 3 years old) has been diagnosed with asthma, although I'm not convinced by this as she doesn't seem to have much of a cough.

However, she often has dry patches around her mouth. Could this be linked?

She often has a snuffly sound in her nose too. She thinks she sounds like a hedgehog!

Sound like asthma to you?

Thanks for your time on this! smile

First off, I agree with MadHair, I am employed but haven't worked since Feb due to severe asthma, and had over 6 months off with it last year, and am terrified I won't get ESA or DLA.
It's a very real illness, but as you say, many people think it's not that serious, when it almost killed me twice last year, I had to be ventilated at one point.
I'm at the point now where I struggle to out by myself, and usually get a friend or at very least, my 9yr old to come with me. She also does lots round the house that I no longer can.

Anyway, I currently take Seretide, Ventolin, Saline nebs (also have ventolin nebs if needed), Singulair, Mucodyne and Azithromycin. I'm waiting to hear back from my Consultant as he's going to the Professor with my case to see if there's anything else they can do to help, as my asthma is getting worse, not better.

Is there anything else you can suggest that may help, whether that be a medical treatment to ask about, or diet, just general tips on living a normal life?

MadHairbaaadonroyalweddingDay Wed 27-Apr-11 18:18:37

<sorry for hijack> hi netto, I take all those meds too (have bronchiectasis as well as asthma) and find physio v important for keeping on top of it as much as possible - postural drainage - has your consultant referred you to a respiratory physio? May help a bit? Giving up work is a bummer I know - much sympathy sad

I had physio in hospital, and it helped. At home I take my saline neb each morning, followed by a hot drink and then cough up as much gunk as I can.
I have been shown techniques to help with this too, aslo I have a hot shower twice a day and the steam helps.

The problem with getting regular physio is that I live in an area where the hospitals aren't near, or easily accessible on Public Transport, and I don't drive or have childcare for DD.

I'm also looking into help for DD, some sort of young carers type place where they can help her and maybe me too which some of the problems, but again, not much available here.

It's all a bit catch 22 until I hopefully get ESA/DLA sorted and then can maybe pay for some help.

Going back to the free prescription/more help for asthmatics financially- the nebuliser I have, I had to buy as the hospital wouldn't give me one even after a 12 days hospital stay including being in ITU.angry

MadHairbaaadonroyalweddingDay Wed 27-Apr-11 18:57:10

It's such a postcode lottery sad I have one from my local hospital and desperately need it but know of others like yourself who have had to buy it.
Hope you get DLA etc sorted. Please feel free to PM me as I have done the whole DLA thing. All the best.

Thanks.

I have the ESA forms to be back by May 20th, but I need a supporting letter from the Consultant first, and one from the GP. I think I need that in place before I can get DLA?

I will be in touch if I get stuck, I hear the whole process is a bit of a nightmare.

candleshoe Wed 27-Apr-11 19:21:45

My DS has mild asthma which gives him a persistant night cough but which has only twice caused an actual attack. He has been on Flixotide for two years (2 puffs am and 2 puffs pm) and rarely needs his Salbutamol inhaler. Will he grow out of this in time? Will it stay the same/get worse? Is there anything more I can do?

JemimaMop Wed 27-Apr-11 19:31:58

Hi. I am ashthmatic, and have had a bad few years with it which seemed to be triggered by being pregnant with my 3rd child. I have been hospitalised several times with pneumonia. It seems to (fingers crossed) be under control now with the help of Singulair, Phyllocontin, Symbicort and Salbutamol. I think a lot of the problem was stress, which in turn gets worse as not being able to breathe makes you more stressed! Lots of other things trigger it (hay fever, certain foods etc) but the reaction is always worse if I am stressed.

As I say, things are a lot better than they were, although it has taken 5 years to get to this point. My question is: what is the best way to make sure that this good stretch continues and I don't go back to how things were when I was being hospitalised 2-3 times a year?

What are the chances of further attacks in a child of 6yrs who had no previous history of asthma but for no obvious reason had a number of severe attacks where he ended up on amninophiline IV and in high dependency.
My son is now on an 8 week prednisolene course, with 2 x 2 puffs of brown and up 2 10 puffs salbutamol 4 hourly and hopefully now under control and displaying no signs of being asthmatic.

When he finishes prednisolene is there a chance he could go downhill again?
Also, Should schools have asthma policies in place as a matter of course because mine does NOT.

MrsShiney Wed 27-Apr-11 20:17:17

My DD is 17 and is atopic and has severe asthma she is currently on the symbicort smart programme, ventolin, montelukast, intel inhaler, cetirizine, tranexamic acid, nasonex, sodium cromoglicate eye drops, piriton, and a few other creams and medicines for eczema and GERD. She also carries epipens and an adrenaline inhaler. But despite all this she has still had 10 lots of steroids in the last 9 months some with ABs and some without between 20 and 70 mg and she is currently on a 6 week course to try to get her off of them. But she’s had 7 admissions in the past year including high dependency and numerous other A&E visits and OOHs/GP appointments in your opinion what would be the next stage of treatment to try to improve symptoms? Thank you.

alibobins Wed 27-Apr-11 20:18:55

Hello I have 2 questions
First ds1 is 6 and is on seritide 125 2 puffs am and pm, montelukast, ventolin either via neb or inhaler depends on how bad he is at least 4 times a day, ceterizine 10ml daily and beconase nose spray he is still suffering and getting very wheezy at times he has recently had a stay in hospital. We are back at the consultant in a few weeks what could they try next?

ds2 is 16 months and on flixotide, ventolin, atrovent montelukast and long term clarithroymicin for a possible endobronchal(sp) infection he also takes omeprazole and ranitadine for reflux is their any investigations I should be asking for.

Thanks x

FudgeGirl Wed 27-Apr-11 21:07:24

Hope you can help with my question Dr Thomas.

I've used ventolin and becotide/clenil inhalers since I was about seven, usually a couple of times a day when wheezy.

For the past two months, I've suddenly stopped needed them almost totally. I've used my blue inhaler probably five times in that time. Despite the hayfever season now being upon us, my asthma seems to have all but disappeared.

My triggers are dust, dogs, cats, grass (what the dr described as level four allergies after blood tests) and sometimes exercising, laughing too much and perfumes would set me off. If I was poorly with a cold I'd be using my inhalers a lot.

Would be really grateful for any insight into why this has happened - I'm not complaining, just curious! Nothing else has changed in my life/diet.

Thanks in advance.

FudgeGirl Wed 27-Apr-11 21:10:35

I'm 30 years old, by the way.

Dalrymps Wed 27-Apr-11 21:15:12

Just a quicky. I only started suffering from asthma when I was about 15 (triggered by kittens). I am now 30, is it possible for asthma to improve or even disappear with age?

Ladybiskybat Wed 27-Apr-11 21:49:03

Hello, I just wondered what are normal breathing rates for babies? My DS is ten months and seems to breathe fast more often than not. He pulls in under his ribs and his shoulders seem to pull up with each breath. He grunts sometimes too but doesn't flare his nostrils. He is on clenil, atrovent, ventolin and just had 3 days course of Prednisolone and now montelukast for a month. It's hard when they say they cant diagnose asthma due to him being so young but he hasn't been unwell to have got a virus for it to be viral wheezing. I think if they said it's asthma and this is what to do I would be fine. I dont want to feel like im panicking all of the time but him breathing fast and coughing/choking at night only worries me sick. Thanks smile

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