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Asthma

How Can I Relieve the Asthma Cough in My 5 Yr

04/01/2011

Question:

help with asthma cough when inhaler is not working

Answer:

If a cough is not relieved by using a rescue inhaler (albuterol or xopenex), there are 3 possible reasons: 

1) The medicine isn't actually being inhaled correctly. (The inhaler is empty of medication and is just spraying propellant, or the way the child is inhaling the medicine isn't actually getting it to his/her lungs). 

2) The asthma flare triggering the cough no longer is just due to airway spasm (which rescue medicines treat) but has worsened to the point of airway swelling and mucus plugging. (Steroid medicine is needed - soon - to fix this.) 

3) The cough isn't from asthma, after all. 

Make sure the inhaler has not expired and has not been used for more puffs than the label says it contains. Make sure your child is inhaling the medicine correctly. (At 5 years of age, he/she probably needs a mask style spacer to do this, and should be taking 6-7 breaths per puff.)  If these issues are not the problem, then he/she needs to see the doctor to help figure out if the problem is #2 or #3.  

For more information:

Go to the Asthma health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Elizabeth D Allen, MD Elizabeth D Allen, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University