TMy two-year-old daughter has been prone to chest infections since she was born and after her last
bout of antibiotics, the GP said it might be time to consider putting her on an inhaler. I’ve got the prescription now but friends have told me that putting her on an inhaler at such a young age will only make her problems worse. The GP said it was up to me to decide if I wanted to go ahead with the inhaler. She seems okay at the moment but it’s probably only a matter of time before she gets another chest infection. What are the drawbacks to inhalers for small children? I have no
experience of this as there is no asthma or anything like that in my family. HINK of our airways as a tree. The trunk is called the trachea. The larger branches are called bronchi and the next small branches are the bronchioles. If there is inflammation anywhere along this tree irritation can occur. Irritation in the airway may be noticed as a cough, wheeze or shortness of breath.
Asthma is a condition in which there is sensitivity, irritation and inflammation of the airways. Chronic cough in children can be a sign of underlying asthma. Asthma isn’t usually diagnosed under the age of two but in those over this age with chronic cough, it may be reasonable to start a trial of inhalers to see if symptoms improve. There are number of factors that put people at risk of cough and wheeze. Household smoke exposure is a well-known risk, especially maternal smoking, so it’s important not to smoke at home and not allow anyone else to either. Asthma can run in families but this isn’t always the case. A family history of eczema and hay fever also increases the risk.
The symptoms of asthma can be frightening for parents as the wheezing and coughing can be quite pronounced. Your daughter’s symptoms are not unusual for those with asthma. For some people with asthma the winter is particularly problematic. The cold weather or simply being indoors and exposed more to house dust mites can trigger a flare causing cough, wheeze and shortness of breath. Respiratory infections are also a trigger. You did the right thing chatting to your GP and it sounds like he/she feels it’s worth trying an inhaler.
It is important to point out that uncontrolled asthma is a serious condition that can cause harm. I have no concerns as regards the use of prescribed inhalers in children who need them. They can be lifesaving.
Asthma is not a curable condition, although some do outgrow it, and