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(14 Posts)
JulieF Thu 01-May-03 21:49:38

Does anyone have any experience of asthma diagnosis in babies?

Just before we went on holiday dh took 18 month old dd to the doctors as she had a cold and a chesty cough. I have previously missed a chest infection that I thought was just a cold so wanted to get her checked before we took her away. I didn't partiularly want antibiotics or anything unless they were necessary, just wanted her checked.

Anyway the doctor said her chest was clear but that the repeateed chest infections (2 in the last 6 months) might mean she has asthma. He said to try her on an inhalor for the next month to see how she goes.

Now I know she does have a bad cough at the moment, especially at night but I have not heard her wheeze and I am a bit concerned at the ease which this inhalor was given to her. I am supposed to give her 2 puffs 4 times a day which I think is excessive (thats the dose I am on). I have instead been giving her 1 puff twice a day.

I half wonder if the only reason for the doctor thinking she may have asthma is the fact that both myself and dh have it. The Asthma Society website is good for advice and support on coping with asthma, but gives little info about diagnosis and the implications of inhalors that are not really needed.

lou33 Thu 01-May-03 21:56:31

Asthma is quite hard to diagnose in the under 2's. I think by the sound of it he thought that if she is having repeated infections and coughing at night the chances are it could be, so using an inhaler may tell you either way. If it is asthma it should relieve the symptoms, if it isn't it won't. I wonder whether the 2 puffs 4 times a day advice is for the maximum you can give her? It might be that you give her that dosage while she is particularly bad then reduce it when she has improved.

Good luck anyway, I hope she gets better soon.

alex1297 Thu 01-May-03 22:18:28

Would asthma cause a 3-year-old to cough up phlegm during the night?

Tortington Thu 01-May-03 22:37:04

dont know the implications of inhalers that are not needed however.

if you have asthma - you know - you just know if your child is having an asthma attack - my daughter was 10 - 11 weeks old when i took her into hospital - they didnt wast to diagnose but i knew i could see the struggle she was having to breath - i knew becuase i have asthma. when she reached 3 months they gave us a portable nebulizer and it worked a treat.

if you dont think your child has asthma and is rather prone to chest infections and you have asthma and know how it feels when you cant breathe, then trust your judgement. if nothing else i would say that an inhaler gives immediate relief and that would be visable and noticeable to you as a mother

suedonim Fri 02-May-03 03:55:48

Small children can wheeze or cough without actually having asthma (or, they can be asthmatic without wheezing!) and an inhaler can help this. The diagnosis doesn't really matter too much; getting them well is the thing. A night-time cough can be indicative of asthma or of a post-nasal drip. I don't think there are any serious implications of using an inhaler if it is not necessary, although some children can become a bit hyper on them. The doses in an inhaler are very small indeed. I've got four asthmatic children and, apart from the hyper bit, none of them have had problems through overuse of inhakers. HTH

mum2toby Fri 02-May-03 08:11:57

JulieF - my son was diagnosed with a 'tendency to wheeze' when he was 10 mths old. Apparently they can't really make a diagnosis like this until after 12mths. Asthma runs on my side of the family as do allergies, excema etc etc.

I was given a Salbutamol Inhaler for him, the exact same one as I use! We were given a contraption to administer the drug and were told to give him 2 puffs 3 times a day. We tried in numerous times and don't really feel like it did much...... I mean I don't think he got any of the drug! Fortunately, his condition (touch wood!!) is not serious. We gave up and he was fine thank goodness!

I know that I sometimes take my Inhaler when I probably don't really need it. And as far as I know there are no long term effects. But you have triggered my curiosity and I'm going to do a wee bit research.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

mum2toby Fri 02-May-03 08:19:39

I've!!! just!!! realised!! that I use !! faaar too many exclamation marks!!!!!!!

morocco Sat 03-May-03 00:22:47

I'm just posting this to give you some info about side effects of using some treatments for asthma - I'm sure it only applies to long term use and isn't relevant to your children right now so don't worry but it's worth bearing in mind for when they are older.
My dad had asthma for years when teen:twenties and used an inhaler and also nasal spray for about 30 years. Something in them (I think steroids - could this be possible?)eventually after this many years of use began to thin his bones and he now has osteoporosis. Luckily it was diagnosed very early and with lots of tablets:no coffee and no inhalers has improved a lot. Funnily enough he has not had any asthma since stopping taking his asthma treatment.
It's a side effect we had never heard of and that he was not warned about when taking the medication but which the doctors did not seem at all surprised by. So worth asking your gp about perhaps.
Just to stress - long long term use problem only

suedonim Sat 03-May-03 07:00:15

Yes, you're right, Morocco. That is a well documented long term effect of steroid inhalers. It's a hard call to make as you have to balance the side effects with the quality of life you have without the medication. I'm glad your dad was ok without them - it's a shame no one had bothered check whether he still needed the drugs.

I doubt very much that Julie's baby is on steroids - it sounds like a simple 'reliever' inhaler to me, which doesn't have those side effects. HTH.

kmg1 Sat 03-May-03 18:45:37

mum2toby - there are contra-indications for over-use of relievers (blue). Dh had never had a preventer (red), then we moved and his new GP said he ought to. Since then his asthma has improved a lot, and he rarely needs to use the blue ones.

Sorry - I don't know a lot about it, fortunately my boys seem asthma free ... they tended to get coughs a lot when little, but never wheezed, and the GPs said an asthma diagnosis at that age was unhelpul and very difficult to make anyway. Since then they appear to have grown out of it.

morocco Sat 03-May-03 19:05:27

Thanks Suedonim for the information - I hope my post didn't come across as unnecessarily scaremongering btw.
Just thought I'd add that both my brother and sister had asthma as children but seem to have 'outgrown' it in adulthood - I'm not sure if this means they never had it at all but I thought it might help to know that a diagnosis does not mean 'forever'

JulieF Sat 03-May-03 21:56:34

Thanks everyone for all your advice. DD did have a bad night on Friday, she woke up crying in the night and coughing and her inhalor did seem to help a little. Also she was coughing a bit today and I did feel that her breathing seemed a bit off.

I suppose one of the problems was that I didn't see the doctor myself so its all second hand info from dh.

Morroco, she does only have the preventor (salbutamol) but I have been taking becotide for over 10 years and will probably do so for most of the rest of my life. I had been concerned about osteoporosis anyway because of the lack of dairy in my diet so it does give me something to think about. I also take beconase nasal spray for hay fever (same ingredient) it used to be flixonase until the doctor changed it when I was pregnant with dd.

I've also had some good advice from an e group about putting her teddies in the freezer etc to eliminate dust mites. She always goes to bed with at least one.

Anyway thanks again everyone for the advice.

suedonim Sun 04-May-03 06:24:06

No problem, Morocco! I was just trying to clarify, as you'd said you weren't sure about the steroid aspect. And spot-on about the growing out of it. My DS2 was an extremely severe asthmatic and he did grow out of it eventually. We had a gruelling 14 years waiting, though. Also, once you've been asthmatic, you always have the tendency for it to recur later in life, unfortunately.

As I said below, all four of mine are/were asthmatic and I know far more than I'd wish to know about asthma.

opal1266 Sun 22-May-05 18:58:12

dear julie, for you daughter to be diagnosed with repeated chest infections means that she daughter should have had cold type symptoms ie coughing phlegm earache sore throat for more than 2weeks out of every month over a period of 6 months which do not respond to antibiotics.
reliever inhalers can be used up to 6 puffs 6 times per day, i know because thats what my 15 month old son takes as a maximum dose. the only side effects you should note if she is having two much is that she will have the shakes for a few minutes after taking the inhaler. there are no long term side effects from taking salbutamol. the current medical opinion is that children under ten should not be diagnosed with asthma unless freuent visits to the hospital with "attacks " are noted. personally if your daughter is doing everything she shopuld be for her age and these infections only slow her down for a short prtiod of time i wouldnt worry. let her do everything she wants and enjoy. from an inhaler point of view i would advise seeing a nurse rather than doctor at your practice, they tend to have more input n dealing with children. and can refer you to the right people. hope this helps. if her symptoms are worse at night, ease off the dairy products last thing, only use cotton bedding and dustmite protect the matress and pillow cases.
all the best

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