A wheeze or whistling sound that is caused by a viral infection (a cough or a cold). The wheeze may return each time
your child has a cold. Usually the child is well in-between the viral infections but the wheeze can last for some weeks
after the infection. Children under the age of 3 years are more likely to be affected as their air passages are small.
Over the next few days, your child will need to be regularly given a blue (salbutamol) reliever inhaler.
Dose of blue (salbutamol) reliever inhaler via Spacer:
Today 10 puffs, 4 hourly for first 24 hours
Then 5 puffs, 4 hourly for 24 hours
Then 2 puffs, 4 hourly until symptoms improve after which your child should be back to normal and you should be able to stop the blue inhaler.
In the event that your child has been started on steroid tablets, these should be continued once daily (usual treatment course is 3 days).
If your child becomes increasingly breathless despite following the plan above, you should follow the instructions outlined in the table below.
At the start of cold symptoms (such as runny nose), begin your child on blue (salbutamol) reliever inhaler 10 puffs 4
hourly (including through the night).
If you / your child is:
Give 10 puffs blue (salbutamol) reliever inhaler.
Alternatively phone 111 for 24 hour advice
if you are unable to contact your GP
If your child’s breathing is not laboured or fast and he/she is able
to continue their normal day to day activities
Start blue (salbutamol) reliever inhaler 10 puffs 4 hourly for 1 day, then 5 puffs 4 hourly for 1 day, then 2 puffs 4 hourly (including through the night) until symptoms improve.
Choose appropriate sized spacer with mask (or mouthpiece if child is over 3 years with good technique and is not significantly short of breath)
Repeat steps 2 – 5 for subsequent doses
Plastic spacers should be washed before 1st use and every month as per manufacturer’s guidelines
No, not necessarily. This is a different condition from asthma, although a few children do go on to develop asthma.
Children with asthma:
If you are worried that your child has asthma, you should make an appointment to see your GP or GP asthma nurse.
Although your child has not been diagnosed with asthma, your GP asthma nurse will usually be happy to review children with viral induced wheeze. If your child has been discharged from hospital, you should arrange for them to be seen in the next 48 hours by your GP or GP practice nurse. You should arrange for them to be reviewed by your GP if they continue to have lots of problems with wheeze once they have recovered from their cold.
This guidance is written by healthcare professionals from across Hampshire, Dorset and the Isle of Wight.