Five easy steps to manage your child’s asthma well
1. Use an asthma action plan to stay on top of your child’s symptoms
Using an action plan means it’s easier to manage your child’s symptoms, and help them stay well with their asthma.
Your child’s asthma action plan has all the information you need in one place.
It tells you:
- what to do every day to help keep your child well
- what to do if your child’s asthma is getting worse
- what to do if your child has an asthma attack
You fill in your child’s action plan with your child’s doctor or asthma nurse.
2. Help your child take their preventer inhaler every day
Your child’s preventer medicine keeps down inflammation in their airways. If they take it regularly every day as prescribed, they’re less likely to react to their asthma triggers.
Helping your child take their inhaler alongside something else they do every morning and evening, like brushing their teeth, can help you get into a good routine.
Find out more and get more tips on helping your child use their inhaler.
3. Carry your child’s reliever inhaler with you everywhere
Your child’s reliever inhaler (usually blue) is essential if they start having asthma symptoms or an asthma attack. Make sure it’s always close by, so you can deal with your child’s symptoms quickly.
If your child is at school, ask the school about emergency reliever inhalers.
Find out more about reliever inhalers.
4. Check your child’s inhaler technique
A good inhaler technique can mean fewer symptoms. It also helps prevent side effects like a sore mouth.
Ask your child’s doctor or nurse to check your child’s technique. You can also ask a pharmacist.
And don’t forget to watch while your child takes their inhaler, to make sure they’re doing it right. They need to rinse out and gargle after taking it too.
5. Spotting symptoms
Knowing how your child’s asthma has been over time can be really helpful when you take them for their asthma review, or other appointments.
You can help your child keep an eye on their symptoms with our asthma symptoms calendar and stickers.
Some children benefit from keeping a peak flow diary for a while too - for example, if they have started a new treatment, or if their GP or asthma nurse wants to find out more about their triggers.
Alongside symptoms, a drop in their peak flow score is a sign for you to get some more support from their GP or asthma nurse.
See their GP or asthma nurse
If your child is having symptoms, or using their reliever three or more times a week, it’s a sign that their asthma is getting worse and they could be at risk of an asthma attack.
How your child’s GP or asthma nurse can support you
Your child’s GP or asthma nurse can review your child’s asthma, update your child’s action plan, and check your child’s inhaler technique.
If your child has worsening symptoms or an asthma attack, their GP or asthma nurse should review their treatment plan, and give you advice on how to avoid another asthma attack.
Help your child stay fit and healthy
Whether it’s PE at school, or playing out with friends, keeping active and doing exercise is good for your child, as long as their asthma is well managed.
Encourage them to be as active as possible with our top tips for keeping a child with asthma active.
Eating well and maintaining a healthy weight can help your child’s asthma. If your child is overweight their asthma will be harder to manage, and they’ll be more likely to have symptoms like breathlessness.
Find out more about weight and asthma.
Smoking around you child will make their asthma symptoms worse and put them at much higher risk of an asthma attack. Their asthma medicine won’t work as well.
Ask other people not to smoke around your child too.
If you smoke, your GP or pharmacist can give lots of advice about quitting smoking.
Help your child to look after their own asthma
It’s a good idea to help your child to start looking after their own asthma, even when they’re quite young. It can help your child feel more confident and in control, and give you more peace of mind when your child’s at school or away from home
Even younger children can start to do small things to look after their asthma, for example:
- helping you wash out their spacer
- choosing a good place to keep their preventer inhaler
- decorating a bag or pencil case for their reliever inhaler
- using our asthma calendar and stickers.
Older children could:
- set a reminder on their phone to take their preventer inhaler
- keep track of symptoms, either using our calendar, or on their phone
- tell their friends and teachers about their asthma, and show them their action plan
- keep their action plan somewhere safe, or save it on their phone
- think of questions they want to ask themselves at their asthma review
- think about ways to describe their symptoms so they can tell their GP or asthma nurse
- write down each time they need to use their reliever inhaler
- watch our inhaler videos to check their inhaler technique.
Make sure your child knows when to ask for help
If your child starts having asthma symptoms at school, or while they’re being looked after by someone else, they need to know it’s OK to ask for help. Make sure they know they must tell someone straight away if they start to feel unwell.