Asthma in children

Controlling asthma in children

You can’t prevent your child getting asthma, but you can do some things to help your child stay well.

Follow your child’s written personal asthma action plan

Always give your child their medication as instructed in the plan - even if they don’t feel ill.

Have regular asthma reviews.

Your child should have a review with their doctor or nurse every 6 months. This is to check they’re getting the best treatment. If you think your child’s asthma action plan isn’t working, arrange a review sooner.

Check your child’s inhaler technique.

Make sure you understand how your child should use the inhaler and spacer. Ask a doctor or nurse to show you if you’re not sure. Check your child’s technique regularly. An asthma review is a good time to check this too.

Monitor your child’s symptoms. 

It’s really important the whole family takes your child’s asthma seriously and understands what to look out for. If your child is older, teach them how to recognise the symptoms too.  Keep a diary of your child’s symptoms to take to their asthma review.

If your child is 5 or over, your doctor or nurse may ask you to measure your child’s peak flow regularly. Know what your child’s peak flow should be and what to do if it’s low.

Get to know your child’s triggers and avoid them if you can.

Look out for what makes your child’s asthma worse. If you’re a smoker, you’ll find your child’s asthma is harder to manage and your child’s asthma medicine may not work as well. Being around tobacco smoke will make your child’s asthma symptoms worse.

Never ignore worsening symptoms.

The symptoms of an asthma attack can take 6 to 48 hours to become serious. Spotting them early could help avoid a serious attack. If your child wakes up with symptoms during the night or in the early morning, their treatment may need adjusting. Arrange to see your doctor or nurse as soon as possible. You should also arrange an appointment if your child is wheezy during the day and needs to use their reliever inhaler more than three times a week.

Talk to your child’s school.

Let the school know about your child’s condition, and give them a copy of your child’s asthma action plan.

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Last medically reviewed: September 2016. Due for review: September 2019

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.