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Asthmatic Babies

25 replies

Marigold · 25/10/2001 18:36

Hi all

My doctor has just diagnosed my 9 month old baby as having mild asthma i.e. probably induced by having a cold (he has been mildly weezy for about 3 weeks and has a snotty nose and coughs and sneezes), and has prescibed a salbutamol inhaler with a spacer. Can anyone suggest the best means of using this device with a baby? Are there any alternative/homeopathic remedies that might help? Could he be allergic to cows milk?


OP posts:
Chairmum · 25/10/2001 20:17

Did they give you a little face mask to use with the spacer? The best way to get the baby to use it is to turn it into a game, playing peepo, or something similar with it. Hopefully, your GP or health visitor can help with regard to allergies.

Hmonty · 26/10/2001 09:23

I'm surprised they've diagnosed asthma so young. I was told that you couldn't make a definite asthma diagnosis until the child reached at least a year....

We were lucky enough to be given a spacer at the childrens hospital in Brighton where they have a clinic especially for breathing difficulties. It might be worth seeing if there is something similar near you where they can teach you the most effective ways to use the spacer and inhaler. I've had an inhaler for years but even I learnt new things. Did anyone show you how to use it? There's definitely a knack and if the inhaler is not used correctly it will be a waste of time....For instance did they explain about shaking the inhaler for at least 30 seconds prior to spraying? If you don't your baby will just get a lung full of the propellant! Try your health visitor for advice.

It helped with my son (who admittedly was older) to decorate his spacer with stickers. Also, he's allowed to play with the spacer and helps me put it together and insert the inhaler. The idea is that this familiarity reduces the fear. We've also given teddy plenty of puffs in the past and have pretended that the mask of the spacer makes him look like a space man.....Not effective for a 9 month old but worth remembering for the future....Make it a game as much as possible and then it won't appear so terrible. My youngest (who doesn't have asthma) actually wants to join in too!

Everytime my son gets a cold he gets an asthma attack so we are old hands now. I'm losing track of the number of times we've had to dash off to the doctor or A&E....always late at night and always in the rain...why is that? The good thing about childhood asthma is that the majority grow out of it. If you want any more tips on how to use the inhaler let me know but I'd really recommend getting someone who knows what they're talking about to demonstrate (and no offence to GPs but that's not normally a doctor's strongest skill).

Marigold · 26/10/2001 12:55

Thanks Hmonty & Chairmum

We did get a face mask with the inhaler, although at times getting this over my sons nose and mouth is difficult, as is keeping the whole thing in place for more than a couple of seconds.

I'm not sure we have a firm diagnosis of asthma - basically I took theo to the doctor because he seemed to have had a cold and been wheezy for about 3 weeks. Initially we were prescribed a course of antibiotics, that were pretty ineffectual- so on wednesday I took theo to see the doctor once again and expected to be sent away (as per normal)for being worried about nothing - instead the doctor mumbled something about Theo having mild asthma and sent me away, fairly confused with a script for salbutamol etc.


OP posts:
Chairmum · 26/10/2001 16:17

Just another couple of thoughts, Marigold. Your surgery may hold an Asthma Clinic, which is run by nurses. They have specialist training, which GP's don't, so they may be able to help. Another source of help is the National Asthma Campaign. I don't have their URL but I'm sure an internet search would bring it up. They have help lines to phone.

As regards your baby not having the mask over his face for more than a couple of seconds at a time. If it is a standard inhaler anbd spacer, then the medication doesn't all have to be taken at once. So long as you can get him to take one breath via the mask, have a moment's break, take another breath etc, he should be receiving enough.

Kmg · 26/10/2001 17:54

Marigold - I would recommend taking him off cows milk - but ask your doctor. My son started coughing, wheezing, and being sick at 7 months. After two months a GP asked when I had started cutting back on breastfeeding, and started introducing yoghurts, etc. - 7 months, what a coincidence. The GP put him on soya formula, and cut out dairy in his diet and all the symptoms cleared up.

Marigold · 26/10/2001 19:19

I have been pondering whether or not he may be unable to tolerate milk - he is sometimes sick after his breakfast (ready brek & cows mild) and I have noticed over the last few days that he seems more wheezy after breakfast (but is it just me being more sensitive?) - I did ask my health visitor if dairy products may be a factor, but she was fairly neutral on the issue, she did however suggest that homeopathic remedies may be helpful - so I'm going to visit a homeopath next week.

I shall see if I can find the url for the National Asthma Campaign - thanks for the suggestions


OP posts:
Marigold · 26/10/2001 20:43

Thanks Chairmum for pointing me in the direction of the National Asthma Campaign ( I have just downloaded a really informative fact sheet from their site on, 'diet and asthma in babies'.


OP posts:
Robinw · 26/10/2001 20:53

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bells2 · 23/07/2002 16:32

For the past 6 weeks or so, my 8 month old daughter has been incredibly wheezy - to the extent that when we're out and about people turn around to look at what on earth is making that noise!. She did have a cold which is when it started and it just hasn't gone away.

I took her to the Doctor about 3 weeks ago and the disgnosis was that it was just a cold. I am taking her in again on Thursday as it is not getting any better. Also, having been one to settle quickly and easily at 7pm on the dot, the last few nights have been extremely difficult as she seems frightened at being put down alone and is only happy when being held by me or preferably breastfed. As soon as I walk in the door at night she cries and cries until I feed her (although by then she has usually just consumed an enormous meal). She then wakes every hour or so throughout the night. So I am wondering whether this upset is perhaps a late bout of separation anxiety or whether it is linked to her breathing difficulties?. She continues to eat like a dream and is happy throughout the day. Just wondered whther anybody else had had a seriously wheezy baby for this long?

Harrysmum · 23/07/2002 16:57

Ds goes through (and went through at your dd's age) periods of being v wheezy/chesty. I am quite paranoid about him being asthmatic as I have no experience of it but dh has it and his brother had to be hospitalised following various attacks as a toddler/young child. Chesty colds do tend to linger in his chest for weeks and months after the real cold has gone and he gets much worse at my parents' house where they have long haired cats. However, that said we have been reluctant to have him "diagnosed" as such as there is such a lot of misdiagnosis with asthma. I think it's better to watch and wait as long as you can. Babies/toddlers who do become asthmatic cough when they're sleeping even if they don't have a cough from a cold; apparently this is one of the early symptoms. Others probably have more direct experience.

bells2 · 23/07/2002 17:02

Thanks Harrysmum - I should add that she coughs an awful lot and particularly at night.

MABS · 23/07/2002 17:23

My 21 month ds has coughes and wheezed ever since a bout of pneumonia at 4 months. Has yours every had a chest infection at all ? Do you have an asthma nurse at your surgery? they can be incredibly helpful. We are also lucky as we have a childrens hospital with a 'sort of' walk in asthma clinic.

I've been told, as others have previously said, that it can't really be properly diagnosed until abot 2-3 yrs. I personally don't think mine is asthmatic - he has various inhalers but none help at all in my opinion now, although they did when he was 10 - 16 months ,might be worth a try ? . He always seems better when the weather is hot(haha) and suffers more in the rain.

Good luck.

Zoe · 23/07/2002 21:16

I can't remember how old my ds was when it happened but we had something similar, a cough at the end of a cold that wouldn't chift and had a wheeze in it. The GP gave him salbutamol syrup which cleared that up. She explained that often asthma medication can be used in the short-term to help acute chest illness and does not necessarily mean that a child is asthmatic. I wonder if your ds would benefit from this?

robinw · 24/07/2002 06:33

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SueDonim · 24/07/2002 07:10

You baby sounds quite unwell, Bells, and irrespective of the diagnosis, (whooping cough asthma, or whatever) needs help with her breathing. It must be pretty distressing for her to be unable to breath properly so its not surprising she is clingy etc. Do impress upon your GP how bad the nights are and demand something be done about it. If he/she doesn't help then try another GP. Good luck.

bells2 · 24/07/2002 07:47

Thanks so much for the replies - it is great to be prepared ahead of the doctor's visit (it will actually be the 3rd trip). Last night was a little better so fingers crossed.

janh · 24/07/2002 21:21

bells2, not sure how much this will help, but we had this with my dd2 at the age of around 2 (can't remember exactly, long time ago now.) Our problem with her was more nighttime coughing than daytime wheezing, but also daytime coughing after exertion, and our GP immediately put her on Ventolin syrup, which sorted her out fine at that time. (I don't think very small children can cope with an inhaler.) 6 weeks is a very long time for cold symptoms so I think you should insist on being referred to an asthma clinic at the very least.

She remained "asthmatic" throughout childhood, spent quite a few years on a variety of inhalers and used to see the asthma clinic nurse regularly - her worst time of year was spring (tree pollen) and she also used to react badly, swollen eyes etc, after contact with cats, esp long-haired ones.

At 17 she is more or less clear but still suffers attacks of night-time coughing after colds.

rozzy · 25/07/2002 11:41

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bells2 · 25/07/2002 15:51

Just to give you an update: took her to the DR's this morning and he was concerned at both how wheezy she was and how long it had been affecting her. While reluctant to diagnose asthma at this early stage, he clearly suspects this may be the case and has given me an inhaler (with attachement thingy for babies) and details of the asthma clinic. In the meantime, it is just a case of waiting to see if the wheeziness gets better of its own accord.

Thanks again for the responses.

SueDonim · 25/07/2002 17:48

I'm glad your Dr was helpful, Bells. As I said earlier, at this stage, a label isn't important but some sort of relief for the condition is! Hope you DD is feeling beter v soon.

robinw · 26/07/2002 06:51

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MABS · 04/08/2002 17:15

Just bringing up the subject of asthma again. My 21 month ds has had inhalers for about 6 months now, even though they can't confirm asthma. He has other issues relating to damage to the chest when he was little.

10 days ago his respiritory doc changed him from his preventer - Becotide - to a relatively new one called Flixotide. He is like a different child......much less wheezy,less coughing and is sleeping better than ever as his chest isn't waking him up. Just thought I'd mention it in case anyone else has a child with 'asthma' and it might help .

bells2 · 08/08/2002 15:10

Just to let you know that finally after 11 weeks, ny daughter has stopped wheezing. So it must have been a stubborn viral infection after all which is a great relief

Thanks again for all your comments.

MABS · 08/08/2002 15:52

That must be such a relief for you Bells2 - hope she stays well.

SueDonim · 08/08/2002 16:42

That's great, Bells. Hope you can all get some sleep now!

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