Take Asthma Seriously

Asthma is very common but should be taken seriously.

Around 1 in 11 children in the UK are affected by asthma but not all children have their disease well managed. There’s no cure for asthma yet with the right treatment children can lead normal and active lives.

When the airways of an asthma sufferer become irritated the muscles around the airways tighten, the lining of the airway becomes inflamed and swollen and more mucus is produced. This makes it harder for air to get into the lungs resulting in coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness. These symptoms are known as an asthma attack.

If your child has asthma it’s important to see your practice nurse to check their asthma is well controlled and to get an asthma action plan for them. Your child’s asthma and their plan should be reviewed regularly, at least annually. This is crucial, so you can ensure that you and your child know how to manage their asthma and what to do if symptoms start to increase.

If at any time you are concerned about your child’s asthma - make an appointment for an asthma review.

Managing your child’s asthma is a whole family affair, make sure everyone takes it seriously. Know what symptoms to look out for and how to treat them. If your child is old enough, you can teach them to recognise their own symptoms too.

It is especially important to make sure you and your child understand how they should use their inhaler and spacer. Ask the practice nurse or a pharmacist to check your child’s inhaler technique.

Your child’s asthma action plan should be shared with their nursery, school, childminder or anyone who looks after them.

Get to know what triggers your child’s asthma – it could be cold weather, exercise, or pet hair; by avoiding them you can help prevent flare ups. Do not smoke around your child. 

Never ignore worsening symptoms, for example coughing at night or using the reliever inhaler more than 2 or 3 times a week.

The symptoms of an asthma attack can take 6 to 48 hours to become serious. Spotting and treating them early could help avoid a serious attack and admission to hospital.

Lots more information for you and your child can be found at www.asthma.org.uk