Absolutely had enough

(24 Posts)
Witsend234 Mon 06-Dec-21 11:00:42

I know this probably seems trivial in the grand scheme of things but I am absolutely miserable.

My DS is asthmatic and he takes regular inhalers and intermittent steroids when needed. One thing that comes with this is he has a constant cough pretty much all year around but it’s worse in winter. Not a huge problem a few years ago but during covid, he has been treated so appallingly by some people that it’s getting us all a bit down.

For example, we keep to outdoor activities as much as possible because the minute we step into somewhere (local shop, shopping centre, swimming lessons etc.), he gets called out for coughing. An elderly couple ran from us in a toy shop on Saturday as DS had coughed into a tissue and whilst doing so, loudly discussed how he shouldn’t be out and should be at home. This is such a regular occurrence that it’s only one of many times this has happened over 18 months and I’m so worried about his confidence. He prefers to stay home, won’t go to friends’ parties after being accused of ‘infecting people’ at one in the summer (he’s 5 btw…). We often take it in turns to go to meals out with relatives because it’s not worth the staring, gossiping comments and sometimes direct and loud insults at our irresponsibility.

I know people are worried and apprehensive but I wish they wouldn’t take it out on my 5 year old sad we pcr test him so regularly that it’s second nature to him. He’s tested on lfts daily and pcrs on top of this and it’s getting impossible.

OP’s posts: |
Londonmummy00 Mon 06-Dec-21 11:06:42


i will reply again later as currently on mumsnet in a cab but just wanted to say I have exactly this issue with my asthmatic DD who is also 5. There are some things that have helped us. Starting with a very understanding and amazing school that do not send her home after each coughing episode and an up to date recent asthma review.

Will message you shortly xx

ThePoisonousMushroom Mon 06-Dec-21 11:09:14

Yes, we have a similar issue with my 8 year old. She basically coughs from September until March. The amount of filthy looks and comments she gets is insane. She doesn’t have much confidence anyway and it gets her down. We even had a period of school refusal because classmates had been making comments about her ‘giving them corona’.

Dammitthisisshit Mon 06-Dec-21 11:33:09

That does sound rubbish. Allow me to present another opinion however. As someone very recently diagnosed with cancer and awaiting their treatment plan I’m scared of catching Covid as it would put everything back. I’m on tender hooks. I’m isolating apart from the school run (when I hang back from everyone) and lone walks but as my girls are going to school it seems a bit futile. Now I don’t believe everyone who gives your DS a dirty look is in the same situation, nor should they be treating him like that but I do know that when I did school drop this morning and one of my DDs friends coughed on her I felt a stab of panic. I gave myself a little internal shake to calm down but I’m pretty sure it will have shown on my face. There are many people with their own reasons for nervousness and that will show in reactions sometimes.
Do you have a school class WhatsApp group? If you do post there about DS having asthma but you testing him regularly. That way everyone will understand.
And Thankyou for all the testing you are doing.

ArachnidArachnid Mon 06-Dec-21 11:44:48

Why are you doing LFT daily? Could you pull that back to two tests a week, that’s in line with various guidelines. To be fair at his age he doesn’t need to test at all!
It may be increasing his anxiety to be testing so often.
Practice saying with him assertively and politely ‘I am coughing because of my asthma it’s not covid’. Reassure him that you will check his temperature and unless that spikes no reason to avoid others.
You could run all this by GP if you like so that you have confidence in him being out and about, and that will help you build him up.

HesterShaw1 Mon 06-Dec-21 11:47:54

It doesn't sound trivial, it sounds utterly wearing. Accusing a small child of "infecting people" FFS 😡😡😡 What's wrong with people?

(But why are you testing a five year old every single day?)

Chessie678 Mon 06-Dec-21 11:57:14

I haven’t had much of this though my toddler has had a cough on and off for months. Maybe I’m oblivious to people or it’s that a lot of the places I go are full of toddlers who also have colds.

It sounds really difficult for DS but I think that you just need to get on with life and ignore as much as you can. Most people won’t care or will be able to work out that there are coughs caused by conditions other than covid. You’re noticing the small number of scared (or obnoxious) people.


Loudestcat14 Mon 06-Dec-21 12:05:25

I agree with ArachnidArachnid. You can't do much about people recoiling from his coughing, short of saying to them he's asthmatic, but you can lessen his anxiety by not testing him so much! Schools only ask that it's done twice a week, so why not drop it down to that and only PCR if a LFT comes up as positive? Poor kid thinks he's a leper and being swabbed daily must be reinforcing that.

RobinPenguins Mon 06-Dec-21 12:06:59

It doesn’t sound trivial, the attitude of many towards small children during this pandemic has been appalling. I get that it (probably) comes from a place of fear but that doesn’t make it ok.

Witsend234 Mon 06-Dec-21 12:21:59

Thank you all so much for the views. I can completely understand why people will recoil/be apprehensive but it’s the actions of those who fire comments his way that get to us most.

With regards to testing so much, it was suggested by his pre-school leader, which he left in august, and we didn’t question it as his key worker was heavily pregnant and assumed that was why! We don’t daily test all the time - just in periods of intense coughing which does feel like all the time this winter so far. It felt like the right thing to do to protect others but I fear in that I have made a huge oversight and made it worse for DS sad he doesn’t mind the actual swab and happily does it as easily as teeth brushing but I will suggest we only test in the event of a temp spike from now on. It’s hard when his own grandparents won’t see him in a garden without testing first.

OP’s posts: |
ginswinger Mon 06-Dec-21 12:31:50


Why are you doing LFT daily? Could you pull that back to two tests a week, that’s in line with various guidelines. To be fair at his age he doesn’t need to test at all!
It may be increasing his anxiety to be testing so often.
Practice saying with him assertively and politely ‘I am coughing because of my asthma it’s not covid’. Reassure him that you will check his temperature and unless that spikes no reason to avoid others.
You could run all this by GP if you like so that you have confidence in him being out and about, and that will help you build him up.

We LFT every day because kids' school is popping with cases. The school has asked us to as a lot of cases are unsymptomatic.

TempsPerdu Mon 06-Dec-21 12:37:26

That sounds really wearing OP. We haven’t had anything so severe with DD, but I do know what you mean - if we’re out and about and she has a residual cough from one of the countless nursery bugs she brings home there is generally at least one person who recoils or darts away or sometimes comments about children being germy superspreaders who should be kept at home. I get that some people are super cautious and frightened, but it’s the unnecessary comments that get me, along with the general disparaging attitude towards children.

There does seem to be a general moral panic around children in some quarters, especially as they remain unvaccinated. I think in some people’s mind’s ‘unvaccinated’ now equates to ‘unclean’.

annlee3817 Mon 06-Dec-21 12:38:52

My DD is the same, asthmatic and presents itself in the form of a cough, she's had her inhaler upped to a stronger one which has helped and we use a steamer in her room at night.

When she coughs in public I just loudly say "not covid", but only if I think someone is paying attention, to be fair though we haven't had any issues with it, sorry people are being like that with you.

We test once a week with a LFT, and she's lost time at school when we've had to get a PCR to appease them, it's so frustrating

Ohpulltheotherone Mon 06-Dec-21 12:44:08

I’m sorry OP.

Seriously though, who feels the need to make snide comments and berate you or a five year old.

If someone coughs near me then I just move back or out of the way. Its not necessary to douse them in disinfectant and chant 5 Holy Mary’s.

Have no advice other than a big sign you can flash at arsey people

Your poor lad. flowers

ThanksIGotItInMorrisons Mon 06-Dec-21 12:45:10

I Know it’s not an answer to rude people’s behaviour, but can you get him a t shirt or something that says ‘have asthma , will cough’ or a pin or badge or something? I know it’s not ideal, why should he? But it might help a bit....

ThanksIGotItInMorrisons Mon 06-Dec-21 12:51:55

Something like this

PineappleWilson Mon 06-Dec-21 12:54:02

Does your DS wear one of those tube scarves over his mouth when he goes out? My DD is in a similar position (inhaler twice a day but too young for an asthma diagnosis as yet) and she wears one every time she goes out when it's cold. It helps warm the air as she breathes in, so she coughs less.

Londonmummy00 Mon 06-Dec-21 13:27:47

Hello again OP,

I think you are testing far more than you need to. I would not be putting my child through that test daily or even weekly unless I need to (I don’t believe you do need to as if he has asthma then yes he will cough and his school should be aware of this as should your son)

Starting school in September I knew we were going into the land of coughs, colds and viruses again. I took my daughter for thorough allergy testing and an asthma review and we now know her triggers, preventative inhaler dose has been increased and a review of her other medication. All medical letters sent to her class teacher.

At first she was catching a new cold and sniffles every 2-3 weeks. We PCR tested each time (always came with a cough almost straight away) Always negative. School sees her cough is brought on my throat cold air or in PE (especially bad on the very cold mornings we recently had and she was running around like mad outside) She doesn’t test anymore then.

If she’s visibly unwell with other new symptoms she does a PCR test only then.

My daughter at one point was terrified to cough in public trying to hold it in which resulted in spluttering even worse. I felt awful for her.

OP, do you feel very self conscious of your sons coughing because if you are you will notice it more, plus everyone’s reaction and this will just be never ending anxiety when going out.

Don’t think about it, distract your son chat and have fun. You absolutely should not have to justify yourself to strangers- a short ‘my son has asthma’ is more than enough.

WhereIsMyGlasses Mon 06-Dec-21 13:40:30

I have asthma so I feel his pain, as an adult though I can ignore the unkind looks and comments but he's just a little lad. The badge up thread is a good idea and you can also get those allergy and condition wristbands for kids that state asthma, epilepsy, autism etc. They shouldn't be necessary but your son could just flash them that and saves him speaking...not sure my son could have spoken up at that age to mean folk! Poor lad :-(

derenstar Mon 06-Dec-21 13:54:48

This is a tough situation OP and I truly feel for you. I have asthma too and been on the receiving end of some filthy stares and nasty comments throughout the pandemic. I’m pretty thick skinned but even I’ve been shaken sometimes by the vitriol so I can’t imagine going through it at age 5.

I do now challenge people who comment and remind them that there are other conditions than cause coughs, not just covid. I recently had an asthma attack on an train home from London and people physically moved away, despite my wheezing and clearly struggling to breath. Not one person asked if I was ok. My inhaler helped but I needed my nebuliser.

I think you are going to have to be be prepared to keep advocating for your son and/or perhaps get the badge a PP suggest. I would also stop the daily testing, as others have already said.

I choose to believe that most people are good and have good intentions so may not be aware of the consequences of their actions. Sometimes gently reminding them to be considerate is all that is required. Other times, you have to be prepared to ignore or be bold enough to stand your ground. Your son has every right to live and go about his daily business much the same way as anyone else.

I’m sorry your son is experiencing this, it’s alls just so shit.

VikingOnTheFridge Mon 06-Dec-21 13:56:53

Honestly, some people need to be told to go and fuck themselves.

FflosFfantastig Mon 06-Dec-21 15:03:14

It feels like it's back to treating kids like biohazards again. Shocking the way this is happening.

julieca Mon 06-Dec-21 15:47:18

Yes its rubbish.
And to be honest it happened before covid. My mum has a lung disease that means she coughs on and off pretty much all the time. She has always had comments, dirty stares and people moving away from her.

The only thing I would say is that your DCs asthma does not sound well controlled. I would be taking them back to your GP.

PinkSparklyPussyCat Mon 06-Dec-21 16:08:54

It's definitely not trivial, I really feel for your son. I have a persistent cough and I've felt like a leper at times. No one has ever said anything to me in real life and I usually mutter something about allergies (I presume that's what it is, the doctor wasn't really bothered) and hope they leave me alone. I was told on here last year though that I shouldn't leave the house so I can believe it happens.

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