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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.

Asthma / viral wheeze

(13 Posts)
Areyoufree Sat 04-Feb-17 18:18:26

My son was hospitalised with viral wheeze last year (aged 2). It took 3 nebulisers before his SATs stabilised. Since then, he has had a few episodes, and we have given him Ventolin when his breathing rate increases significantly. However, the doctor won't look at asthma as a possibility, as he is too young (my son, that is, not the doctor!).Apart from that first episode, every time a doctor has seen him, they have said that his chest is clear. Although, nobody could hear a wheeze the time he was hospitalised, because his chest was so tight!

It's left me a little unsure of how to proceed. The doctor says that any time we need to give him an inhaler, we should take him in - but getting an appointment is never easy. They always make me feel like I am overreacting and that this is all in my head! I don't want to give him Ventolin unnecessarily, but he has been sitting on the sofa for over an hour, and his breathing rate is over 40bpm, and he seems to be working quite hard to breathe. Am not asking whether or not I should give it tonight - I probably will, as when he gets like this, he slowly goes downhill, and he has been ill so it could have gone to his chest - but am just wondering if anyone has had a similar experience.

IkaBaar Sun 05-Feb-17 10:44:16

My dd was in hospital with viral wheeze/? Asthma recently too. She is 3, but the consultant said they will diagnose asthma if they wheeze etc. In the absence of viral infections. However we have a significant family history and she has allergies/eczema, so she is more likely than most children they see to have asthma. There is limited point labelling something, if it doesn't affect the treatment anyway.

I know he hasn't been diagnosed with asthma, but have you tried the Asthma UK helpline, they are great.

Inneedofaholiday2017 Sun 05-Feb-17 14:36:44

Just give him the ventolin if you see him struggling.

My dd has wheeze/asthma - it's all the same thing under 5 as they won't formally diagnose and lots grow out of anyway ( we are hoping). We have inhalers on prescription now now and treat at home using the 10-1 puffs regime but also see a consultant every 3 months to monitor her.

Ventolin a quite safe drug but struggling to breath awful - don't be afraid to treat him

Inneedofaholiday2017 Sun 05-Feb-17 14:40:44

Oh they often can't hear the wheeze on my dd too - it's v annoying as many drs dont seem to understand she needs ibhalers struggling to breath whether they can hear it or not. A few times When We used to go to drs about I would give anyway when they left room and then low and behold once she could breath a bit better and wasn't quite so critical a wheeze could them be heard. Hearing a wheeze or not doesn't mean anything therefore in my book.

Areyoufree Sun 05-Feb-17 16:37:33

Problem is, they don't want to prescribe us any more Ventolin, until they can see that he needs it. We have enough to last us a while due to another trip to the hospital recently, when his breathing and heart rate were pretty high and the Ventolin wasn't bringing his breathing rate down fast enough - turned out to be the beginning of chicken pox. But the Ventolin definitely helps him - I have even had his preschool phone me up before because they have seen that he needs it, and he didn't have it with him. I guess we will just have to hope that he has an episode on a week day, and that we are able to get an appointment! I will definitely try the asthma helpline though - I hadn't thought of that.

I will keep giving Ventolin when I think he needs it. Funny thing is that we wondered if our 5 year old daughter had asthma (turned out to be dust allergy), and they basically gave us an inhaler, and said the way to diagnose it was to see if it helped when she was struggling. But then, even though an inhaler does help my son a lot, they don't really believe it! Frustrating.

Areyoufree Sun 05-Feb-17 16:39:31

Thanks for all the replies though - it's really helpful, as I haven't met anyone else who is dealing with anything similar.

Sirzy Sun 05-Feb-17 16:42:35

I would suggest filming him when he is bad so you can show the gp.

Is he "sucking in" at the neck or bottom of his ribs when breathing?

Juveniledelinquent Sun 05-Feb-17 16:46:48

It seems, for some reason, that some doctors are reluctant to call asthma, asthma. My youngest wheezed and was hospitalised and wheezed but it was only when we changed GPs that he was properly treated. He was given a blue inhaler and a brown inhaler to use with a spacer and never looked back.

Our new GP said that asthma is just a fancy name for sensitive lungs and that the wheezing, coughing and tight chest can be caused by many different things.

If it's possible, I would consider changing GPs as some do seem more clued up than others.

Areyoufree Sun 05-Feb-17 18:46:29

@Sirzy That's a good idea, I will definitely do that. He does suck in his tummy, but his attacks aren't what I would think of as acute - he just slowly gets more and more lethargic, wants to be carried, gets upset easily, until it dawns on me to check his breathing rate. It can get quite high (50-60 per minute), and he is working hard to breathe, but not obviously gasping or wheezing. About 20 minutes after Ventolin, he is a different boy again, and will be running around like a loon as normal.

lljkk Sun 05-Feb-17 18:46:43

You need to take him to A&E when the breathing is bad so that it can be observed by health professionals.

FWIW, If we had ventolin around I would give it to DS when it seemed like he needed it. That is exactly the treatment method for intermittent asthma.

Asthma is not a strict definition, it's an umbrella term with fuzzy boundaries.

DS was hospitalised age 3 for viral wheezing. He's now approaching 13yo & I have figured out that he has intermittent asthma. The type that can never be diagnosed by a formal test because it's unpredictable & he rarely has symptoms. We could only prove it with a detailed diary of incidents (dated & times & so on). We have not pursued a formal diagnosis but chat to DS how he wants to manage (active treatment has its own drawbacks).

Inneedofaholiday2017 Sun 05-Feb-17 19:22:03

Ask if you can be referred to a paediatric respiratory consultant or find a sympathetic GP.

To fair we weren't given a perscription until she's had it many times and we had done many a and e/GP trips.

It's so annoying how they scrimp on medicine - there's what 100/200 doses in each one and then they give you one and tell you to give 10 puffs every 4 hours, then 8 then 6 etc and don't seem to be able to do the math that you'll run out!!

Areyoufree Sun 05-Feb-17 20:16:14

Okay, this has all been really helpful - thank you for all the input! I think I have a tendency to second guess myself, which is silly because the Ventolin obviously helps him, whereas when my daughter tried it, we saw no effect on her symptoms. But basically, I shall keep giving him the Ventolin when I think he needs it, but also keep getting him looked at when his breathing is bad. And try and film an attack. It is very useful to hear that the way the doctor is dealing with it is relatively normal though - even if it is hugely frustrating!

Roastie1986 Sun 05-Feb-17 21:13:22

Going through the same. My ds is 2.5 years old. Had his 1st episode of viral wheeze last April. He now shows all the signs of asthma. When well he has the asthma type cough. When he is active he coughs alot, out in the cold he coughs alot. It's so frustrating as no one will seem to help as he isn't 3. He also suffers terrible bouts of croup. 😓

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