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asthma-related cough and my reaction to it

(6 Posts)
marzipanmaggie Mon 18-Apr-16 21:42:50

Just wonder if anyone else has experienced this or anything similar. My dd (5) is prone to asthma. It's relatively mild, she's had three serious exacerbations in her life and the asthma itself is generally well controlled (on Clenil) so I know I have a lot to be grateful for in general as plenty of children are worse off.

The problem is that the way it manifests itself is just an ENDLESS cough. When she gets a cold, I basically have three weeks of non-stop coughing followed by another week of not quite so invasive coughing. And I mean non-stop. It's every 5-10 seconds during the day and then in bursts all night. So I am lucky if I get three-four hours of sleep a night for a week and a half.

It's also very odd in its patterns, as you would expect the cough to peak when the cold is at its worst and then towards the tail end, but quite often the cough will get to its worst two weeks after the cold has finished, or just appear more or less out of nowhere when she doesn't have a cold and then disappear two weeks later.

The problem is I feel like my life is being taken over by this cough. When she is coughing I can't watch TV, I can't read, I can't sleep -- I have to sleep at the other end of my flat to avoid it and she often wants to share a bed when she's sick but I can't stand it. My work suffers. Its there all the time and at times when its really bad I find myself being quite short-tempered with her because there is nothing I can do about it, and just wanting to run away from it. I also am enraged by its total randomness (the fact that it comes out of nowhere) and sometimes catch myself wondering if she does it on purpose for attention. All of which I know are incredibly irrational and unfair things to think.

I've been to see numerous doctors and asthma nurses and all have said that there's nothing to be done about the cough and that as long as the wheeze is well controlled there's nothing else to do and they can't refer her to a specialist. But it just seems really severe and I can't seem to accept that it has to be like this. Has anyone else got any suggestions?

MegBusset Mon 18-Apr-16 21:48:04

DS1 is like this. He had a constant cough from last October until after Christmas! His asthma nurse says it's typical of childhood asthma. I have to say that after a while I got used to it and kind of zoned it out - I think that's what you're going to have to work on! Can't you wear earplugs at night if you find it so disturbing?

marzipanmaggie Mon 18-Apr-16 21:54:11

Meg I I can't zone it out. I hear it building up and up and I know she's going to start crying and I'm going to have to go in and deal with it. It makes me so angry (with the cough) that I get angry with her.

She's been coughing for the past hour and a half for no reason at all. Had a cold which she's been totally clear of for a week and a half, bar the occasional low level throat clearing. And out of nowhere she's had this endless, hacking cough since 8.30pm. I just don't understand where it comes from.

Is there really nothing that can be done about it? No stronger medication?

MegBusset Mon 18-Apr-16 22:15:32

DS1 uses his blue inhaler when the cough is bad, I leave it in his bedroom so he can dose himself as necessary at night (he is older than your DD so not sure if that is an option?)

flowers it's tough, I know. Do you have a DP/DH who can share the night wakings? So one of you has earplugs and the other one comforts DD if she cries.

All the usual cough-soothing tricks apply too: raise end of bed (we put towels under his pillow), and a humidifier (or bowl of steaming water) in her room may help.

marzipanmaggie Mon 18-Apr-16 22:51:31

The blue inhaler doesn't really work with the cough. It can take the edge off when its really bad and it manages the wheeze pretty well but it doesn't really deal with it. Raising end of the bed doesn't really work either. Humidifier sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. It's usually just a case of waiting for her to tire herself out so much she sleeps. It just gives me the rage so much it scares me sometimes. I feel as if the cough is my personal enemy.

I'm a lone parent. My dd's dad is in the picture and lives locally is -- sometimes -- on hand to help so its not like I don't have any support but he's a total drama queen and tends to get very over-emotional about it so isn't much help.

I have heard about "cough variant asthma" and have raised it with my GP and various nurses but my strong sense is that most GPs know bugger all about asthma beyond prescribing the inhalers. I think I will have to keep pushing to get her to a specialist.

Thanks though.

RockCrushesLizard Mon 18-Apr-16 23:21:09

TBH a specialist probably won't do anything different to your GP. Most GPs are pretty good with asthma management, as are the practice nurses usually - it's the kind of thing they see all day long, and they are often pretty expert.

I get exactly this type of cough, and have since childhood. It's a massive PITA, I agree. I find that when it's bad, regular doses of the blue inhaler do help, reduces the frequency of coughing.
An antihistamine helps too, lots of asthma has some sort of allergic component, so that can minimise the triggers.

I get that it's infuriating - I really do, but the problem is that to move to the next line of treatment, whether stronger preventers, oral steroids etc brings in risks of side effects that are not in balance with the risk from the cough - it's a chronic problem, not causing long term harm at the moment.

If it helps, I even get pissed of at my own coughing at times, when it wakes me etc, so it's totally understandable that someone else's would be irritating.

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