Asthma in children

How can I help my child to manage their asthma?

If your child has asthma, there are many things you can do as a parent to help your child manage their asthma and stay well.

Can asthma be prevented?

You can’t completely prevent your child from getting asthma. You can do things to lower their chances of developing it. For example, you can reduce the chances of your child developing asthma by not smoking.

Follow and share your child’s written personal asthma action plan.

Always give your child their medication as instructed in the plan - even on days when their asthma is not a problem. If you think your child no longer needs any of their medications, discuss this with your doctor or nurse.

Share the plan with anyone who looks after your child – family, friends, babysitters, school or nursery staff and any other caregivers.

Get into a routine.

It can be hard to remember to take preventer medicine. By doing it at the same time each day, it will become part of your child’s routine. You could get them to use their inhaler before brushing their teeth in the morning and the evening.

Take your child’s reliever inhaler wherever they go.

You never know when they will need it, so get them into the habit of carrying it with them at all times. You could also keep spare inhalers in places they go regularly. These could include school, grandparents’ homes, or their other parent’s house if you are separated.

Have regular asthma reviews.

Your child should have a review with their doctor or nurse at least once a year, or more if necessary. 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 their inhaler and spacer. Ask a doctor or nurse to show you if you’re not sure. You can look at the videos on using an inhaler on the Asthma UK website if you need a reminder. 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.

You can make it fun for younger children with Asthma UK’s My Asthma pack that includes stickers to help keep track of their symptoms.

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.

Help to stop smoking

Stopping smoking is hard but there is lots of help and support available.

Check out our info on how to stop smoking.

Never ignore worsening symptoms.

The symptoms of an asthma attack can take several 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 3 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. Asthma UK has some useful tips on asthma at school and nursery.

Next: Could complementary therapies help my child’s asthma? >

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Last medically reviewed: September 2019. Due for review: September 2022

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.