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Mums to Asthmatic toddlers/babies - help is needed

7 replies

Wills · 07/12/2004 14:27

Hi, being a chronic asthmatic myself (regularly hospitalised) I've always thought that if one of my children turned out to be unfortunately asthmatic that whilst I would be sad I would handle the situation calmly. But no! DD2 has been showing clear signs of being asthmatic and rather than taking it all in my stride I've fallen apart at the seams and want to take her off to hospital at the slightest wheeze. I really need some guidelines here (before my gp bans me from her room) on what is minor and what is major.

DD2 is just recovering from measles and it has left her with an awful hacking cough from which she struggles to catch her breath. During the day she has a slight wheeze but apart from that carries on as normal. The moment I put her down to sleep however she wheezes like an old smoker and coughs to the point where she gags. I've tried putting a couple of pillows under her mattress to raise her up but she seems to take delight in turing 180 degress around and sleeping head down feet up Grin so I spend most of the night turning her around. After lying down for over an hour you can normally hear up bubbling and wheezing from our bedroom and her coughing will wake her 5 or 6 times a night.

During the day though - this all clears up so that the gp can only hear a slight wheeze. There's no infection as there is no temperature.

Any advice/help. Would appreciate any methods anyone has to help their little ones get through the nights AND some guidelines on when a wheeze is bad and when its not. For me personally I know my peakflows and understand my body and can understand when its going wrong - but hearing it my child completely unhinges me.

Really hoping someone out there can help thanks

OP posts:
bakedpotatohoho · 07/12/2004 15:01

wills, i bet most of your 'falling apart at the seams' is due to sleep deprivation. once you get a good rest, your own experience will be enormously valuable. how old is your dd?

my dd, 3, has asthma. it vanishes for the summer but kicks in at wintertime. we're lucky -- the only symptom (touch wood, ha ha) is a night cough. the aftermath of colds is always bloody, i know. before your DD had the measles, did she night-cough?

the thing to remember (someone pointed this out to me on MN a week or so ago, my GP had failed to make it clear) that if the cough persists at nighttime then the medication needs to be revised. after 7 wks of disturbed nights, this information gave me courage to go back to the GP, at which point he gave her a short (3-day) dose of prednisolone which did seem, by the end of the course, to have had an effect. we had a good week of quiet nights, but now she has got another cold so we're in for fun again. this time i certainly won't let it go for 7 wks.

i'm assuming your DD is on the inhalers? dd was given them when she was a little older than a year. have you got an action plan from your GP, ie advice on how to up the dosage at the onset of a cold? perhaps you need a referral to an asthma specialist, or a paediatrician?

we try the bed-tipping too when she has a cold. a warm-mist vapouriser (you can get them from argos, they're a fiddle) may make a difference. i do calpol, the vicks on the chest thing too, all the usual coldy things, while the cold is still present.

the National Asthma Helpline is good -- there's a website too with a section on children, but the people on the phone have been very useful/reassuring.

feel a bit like i'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs here, YOU'RE the expert, but i do HTH.

AMerryScot · 07/12/2004 15:46

My DD3, aged 2.5, has had "wheeze associated with viral episodes (WAVE)" (they can't diagnose asthma in babies, but to all intents and purposes, it is as serious as asthma and is treated much the same way) for about a year and a half now.

Guidelines I have been told for A&E visit...

Inhaler holding her for less than 2 hours
Sucking in the skin around her neck and throat
Respiratory rate more than 60 per minute
Increasing tireness and subsequent shallower breathing.

Don't be afraid to go to A&E - they see wheezy babies/toddlers straightaway.

Wills · 07/12/2004 16:35

Oh thankyou thankyou. Brilliant advice. The gp has given us ventolin but absolutely no advice on how to up it etc. Knowing how ventolin affects my heart rate and how I feel I'm nervous using too much on her. I had hoped they would prescribe a preventative to her but no. I'm not happy with my gp's, never have been but there isn't an alternative (excluding going private). Thanks for the guidelines for A&E visit. The inhaler doesn't give her much support but I wouldn't say she's got to 60 breathes a minute, nor is she sucking in skin around her throat. I shall go to the Asthma website. Whereas I'm ridiculously blase about my own asthma I think I now need to be better informed for my daughter's sake. I certainly can't rely on my gp's to do that for me. Sad.

You're right over the sleep deprivation though Grin


OP posts:
bakedpotatohoho · 07/12/2004 16:44

re preventatives: dd was prescribed both brown and blue inhalers from the off.
what i've been doing is ringing asthma helpline, and then, armed with their advice, presenting it to the GP. it has given dd's appointments there much more focus.
hope things improve. let's keep comparing notes!

foxinsocks · 07/12/2004 16:54

has your practice got an asthma nurse? In my opinion, they are extremely valuable! They don't mind how often you go and see them and they will invariably sit and listen to you and your worries. They are also an incredible help when it comes to medication - how much to give, what to look out for and of course, they are much easier to get to see and speak to than GPs.

I didn't even know our surgery had one until the GP mentioned I should take dd to her whenever I had concerns. I only wished I'd found out sooner!

My dd gets wheezy only in the spring/summer (related to hayfever I think) and it is very similar to your dd (very few problems during the day unless exercising but horrible at night). Eventually, the only thing that sorted it out was the brown one (becotide I think) at night. She only has a small dose but it definitely has worked over time.

I would certainly ask for this if you feel the blue one (ventolin) isn't helping. In our case, the blue one never worked well with dd and the brown one (over time) has been more effective.

Another 'go to hospital' sign in addition to amerryscot's good list is whether they can talk properly in sentences or whether they are stopping to catch breath midway. Good luck with it all.

(and PS don't feel bad. Dh has bad asthma and I had it as a child but it in no way helped me deal with dd!)

AMerryScot · 07/12/2004 18:26

DD was given a brown inhaler after her fourth hospital stay. They left the choice up to me, but didn't give me any pros and cons - well, the pros are pretty obvious, and they said that there wasn't really a downside apart from the hassle of remembering to give it to her twice a day.

DD was absolutely free of wheezing through the summer, so the brown inhaler seems to be a good thing. She's had cold after cold over the last few weeks, and has been wheezy, but not enough to go to hospital. The doctors view this as just the right amount of preventative treatment - success to them is whether they are in hospital or not.

When DD is wheezy, she gets roughly 4 puffs on her blue inhaler and this will keep her for about 6 hours. If she seems bad, I'll up her dose to 6 puffs every four hours (this is what she seems to need, rather than being a specific dose).

coppertop · 07/12/2004 18:43

Ds1 has had to go to hospital twice because of astma attacks. He doesn't tell us if he's having problems breathing so we have to go by outward appearances. With ds1 the danger signs are:

  • shoulders going up and down when he breathes. With his 2nd attack they were going up and down like little pistons.

  • A kind of 'skin suction' around his ribs as he breathes.

  • When the blue inhaler seems to be having little or no effect.

The nurse at the GP's asthma clinic is really helpful with answering questions etc. It's been over a year now since ds1 has had any problems with asthma so we've been told that if he's okay during this winter period then he may get his medication decreased in the Spring.
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