Like father, like daughter
"When my husband Tim was in his late 20s, he was diagnosed with hay fever (lots of sneezing, coughing, snot and generally feeling below par) and asthma (a dry cough and weird squeak when he breathes in) at the same time. For ages he was on a brown preventer inhaler daily and a blue reliever inhaler as a top up if he needed it. Recently he was given a new inhaler - a purple combination inhaler. One of my top tips is that I write the colour of the inhaler at the top of each prescription. It really helps us to remember which one is which."
"When our daughter Rosemary was two, she had an asthma attack when we were on holiday. She had a cold with a cough so we got an appointment at a local GP surgery. By the time we got there she couldn't walk without collapsing. The asthma nurse gave her a blue inhaler and prescribed a preventer inhaler and steroid tablets and an antihistamine. She said that if her symptoms got worse we needed to phone 999. I must admit that I felt really scared. It was only at this point that I realised how serious asthma can be."
"Ever since then, whenever we go anywhere we always make sure we've got all our medicines with us, including two blue inhalers at all times. And we always check out in advance where the nearest hospital is just in case!"
Getting into a good routine
"Between the ages of two and three, Rosemary's asthma symptoms were very unpredictable. Life became a lot easier once we got Rosemary into a routine. We started numbering things so we'd say she had to do three things before she went to bed: 1. wash your face; 2. do your inhaler; 3. brush your teeth. In the morning's she does her inhaler while I do her hair. We keep the brown inhaler downstairs on a table next to the sofa. We keep her blue inhaler at the end of her bed so we can get to it easily in the night. We also keep a blue inhaler in her pink back pack which she takes everywhere, and one in school on a filing cabinet in her classroom where she can see it. I take Rosemary for reviews every six months. Now I feel like we're really on top of her asthma."
Managing hay fever
"Both Tim and Rosemary have hay fever, which can trigger their asthma. During spring and summer we keep all the windows and doors in the house shut. And we treat the hay fever symptoms to help prevent the asthma symptoms. Tim takes antihistamine tablets prescribed by the doctor. He's allergic to tree pollen so the symptoms tend to start in March every year."
"Like Tim, Rosemary is allergic to tree pollen so her hay fever symptoms usually flare up in March, April and May. She's also allergic to nettle flowers so her hay fever gets worse again in August and September. From the age of two, Rosemary took an antihistamine to treat her hay fever. When she turned six, the doctor suggested she tried a different medicine for hay fever called cetirizine. These tablets made her very sleepy - she even fell asleep at school! So we took her off them after six weeks. Around this time we saw an advert for an over-the-counter nasal spray. We use it on days when she has hay fever symptoms. It works really well for Rosemary."
"Although I'm always keeping an eye out for Rosemary's symptoms, managing her asthma and hay fever doesn't feel stressful anymore now that we're in a good routine. And I'm never afraid of going to the doctor if I notice things have changed. I always think he'd rather see me than for me to wait until she collapses."
"Rosemary is just like any other six year old - she's always on her bike or her scooter, and loves swimming. She may have a tree allergy, but you can often find her up a tree! For our family, taking medicines for asthma and hay fever is just a part of our normal family routine."
- Many people find that pollen allergy is a trigger for their asthma. Try our expert advice on controlling hay fever and reducing the chance of an asthma attack.
Last updated August 2015