Posted by: BMJ | 2010/05/19


Asthma and chest infection

Dear Doc

My almost 9y old son is asthmatic and he uses seretide as a preventer and ventolin as a reliever pump. Usually his asthma is well controlled.

We all have colds at the moment. He has been coughing with increasing frequency over the last 2 weeks and yesterday his chest was tight. He had to use the reliever pump 3 times. His peak flow was 200 (not sure what it is supposed to be). He is feeling very tired, but has no fever and has a normal appetite. His nose is only a little runny (much less than at the start 2 weeks ago). I suspect he has a chest infection. Would you recommend I take him to his dr? I am not sure if he would need anitbiotics as I believe colds are viral in origin? I just want to also mention that he is allergic to penicillen.

I would appreciate your advice.


Expert's Reply



This is a very good question and you have provided much important information.Your son's asthma is normally well controlled but now that he has a cold his asthma has become troublesome. His peak flow reading is low as he should be able to blow about 260 on the peak flow meter. You are correct antibiotics should not been given for a viral infection like this. Your son needs a short course of Prednisone 30mg [6 tablets] in a single dose once daily for 5 days.Give his Ventolin Inhaler 2 puffs 3 times daily for 5 days as well.

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user comments


Posted by: Racoon | 2010/05/20

Dear BMJ,

Just a tip for giving the prednisone - definately take the tablets and not the syrup (which tastes really gross). Crush the tablets and put it in a bite of yoghurt or cereal. Much easier to get in!

Reply to Racoon

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