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Son and his inhaler!

(7 Posts)
Gibble1 Tue 09-Jun-15 16:17:57

DS is 11 and had his first asthma attack (seen by me) 2 years ago. I took him to the GP and he was given an inhaler. When questioning him about his symptoms, it transpires that he had had several asthma attacks whilst doing PE or during playtime but the school never told me about it.

DS is awful at taking his inhaler with him anywhere. 2 years ago, it was not a problem because he was never without me. Nowadays, he is often away from me and it is therefore a huge issue. I have had numerous discussions with him about the importance of taking his inhaler out with him and needing to have it with him at all times. I have explained that it could save his life and that asthma can be serious and life threatening.
He has had asthma attacks when he was out without an inhaler which has caused issues and I have then told him again and again about the importance.

Last week, we were out walking with the scouts and got to the top of a hill. The wind took my breath away and I suddenly thought "I bet he hasn't got one with him". Lo and behold, when I asked him later, no he didn't.
He's just gone out swimming with his Grandma and I've reminded him. He now doesn't have one at all. So he's lost 3 inhalers and the dog ate one. He has one at school in his PE bag. Now his Grandma's got all funny with me saying well he's never needed one when he's been out with me. I pointed out a time when we were all out together and she said, yes but he was out with you not me. What the hell that has got to do with anything is beyond me!

Anyway; What can I do, how can I ensure he always has an inhaler? Reminding him over and over clearly doesn't work and having asthma attacks when not near an inhaler doesn't work either.

cleanandclothed Tue 09-Jun-15 16:40:46

Disclaimer - I am not a medical professional so if someone who is comes on and contradicts me, please ignore me.

I presume from how you have described it your son has exercise-induced asthma and it can come on without warning?

How bad does it get? Is it 'couple of puffs of inhaler and more or less OK'? Or '10 puffs and then we phone the ambulance' type?

I had asthma when younger, and so does my (much younger) son, both of the 'need regular hospital admission' type, but on the back of a cold rather than exercise induced.

What effect is it most likely not having an inhaler will have? Whilst asthma is life threatening, it is very unlikely that a child with mild asthma will die (google National Review of Asthma Deaths for the actual data). So your son is more likely to respond to a consequence he can relate to, and that is quite likely, rather than talk about how serious it can be if that has not been his experience.

My general way of thinking is that an overnight trip requires an inhaler to be in the overnight bag. If there was anything else known to be a trigger, like exercise, it would be sensible to have one in a kit bag. But for other situations assuming I thought* the most likely negative consequence was a few hours of out of breath discomfort I would just let him get on with it, only by all means carry one yourself for peace of mind.

I would think in the long run doing the exercise is far more beneficial than not doing it because carrying an inhaler is too much hassle.

Does he have a review with an asthma nurse? And a personal treatment plan? That might help?

Gibble1 Tue 09-Jun-15 16:54:49

He has exercise induced asthma. It flares up especially when there is high pollen around and he has not had a hospital admission from it. However, you never know when it is going to become a life threatening emergency, and as a health professional, I do see people who have been out and about and had an asthma attack which has landed them in hospital even when they have had an inhaler and even when their asthma is "mild".
He gets the usual shortness of breath, cough and wheeze/ crackle. His eyes generally swell up and become very blood shot and he is very sweaty and clammy. Sometimes he needs several puffs of his inhaler and it calms down but leaves him feeling grotty, other times, he takes the inhaler in plenty of time and is fine relatively quickly.
I absolutely do not want to stop him exercising because he enjoys being out and about and it's good for you. He plays trumpet which is improving his lung function and capacity but he does still have asthma attacks and it's generally on days like today when there's a lot of pollen floating around.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Tue 09-Jun-15 18:11:54

I'm with you Gibble, it is the mild to moderate asthmatics who are poorly controlled who are at risk.

Is he a sporty boy? I have a daughter with exercise induced asthma, she is also triggered by allergens and infection, she is a severe asthmatic. As a pre-teen/teen she would often 'forget' to take her inhaler with her, I think she felt it was uncool to be asthmatic. Luckily the time she did have an attack requiring an ambulance without her inhaler with her her friend had one she borrowed until help came. Now, as an adult, she carries an inhaler at all times. She still swims every night and the pool she trains at have a copy of her treatment plan because she uses a SMART regime rather than ventolin. One of the reasons she started carrying her inhaler more was that her performance was being affected by her lungs. She also realised that actually quite a few top athletes are also affected by asthma and they use their inhalers to keep on top of their symptoms so they can perform at their best. Are there any sportspeople he admires that might influence him?

RedandYellow24 Tue 09-Jun-15 18:16:45

You can get cool looking holders with key ring or belt clips on. I would think of his asthma is serious enough to need one he would be physically uncomfortable without him. Not to mention dangerous if it triggers a particular nasty one.

Get onto the surgery get replacements for lost ones. Start finning him if he didn't have one on going out or he's not allowed out on own until he's more responsible

Gibble1 Tue 09-Jun-15 22:01:23

Brilliant, thanks! I have always wondered why you can't get hold of inhaler holders that go around their necks or on their belt loops and now you can!
I will get his inhalers replaced but I think he should have to buy them himself because he's lost them through being careless. He would be less careless if it cost him money and less of a drain on the NHS.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Tue 09-Jun-15 22:10:25

You keep reminding over and over again ime.

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