On average, three children in every UK classroom** will have asthma, making it the most common long-term childhood medical condition.
It’s understandable for parents to worry if their little one has asthma. But having asthma doesn’t mean they can’t have a normal, healthy childhood. If it is controlled properly, they can carry on as usual, and the condition shouldn’t hold them back in any way.
Here are six things you can do to help them:
1. Find out more about how their medicines work
It’s important you understand what medicines your child needs for their asthma, how they work and when your child should use them. There are two types of inhaler, a preventer inhaler and a reliever inhaler. The preventer helps open up the airways over a period of time to reduce inflammation. This inhaler should be used every day to keep your child’s asthma under control. The reliever inhaler should be with your child at all times and is used whenever they experience shortness of breath.
If you notice that your child’s current treatment is not controlling their symptoms, speak to your local LloydsPharmacy, asthma nurse or GP for advice.
As well as reducing the chances of an asthma attack, your child’s medication is designed to reduce:
- Daytime symptoms
- Night time waking due to symptoms
- Use of reliever inhaler
- The chance of asthma affecting day-to-day life e.g. school or exercise
- Our pharmacists can offer expert advice on how to help your child manage their medication to ensure they are getting the maximum benefit.
2. Check they’re using their inhaler correctly
If your child isn’t able to use their inhaler correctly they may not be getting the full benefit of their medication. Understanding how to use their inhaler correctly can vastly improve how well their condition is managed.
Our pharmacists can help your child master their technique and demonstrate how the inhaler should be used. Come in store and ask about our FREE Respiratory Support Service.
3. Learn what triggers their asthma
To help your child better manage their condition it is important to understand what is causing the symptoms of asthma.
There are lots of things that could trigger it. In some cases it could be obvious what’s causing it but sometimes it could take a little longer to work out. It is important to try and identify a common cause or irritant so that you can help your child avoid it in future and learn how to deal with it.
Common asthma triggers include but aren’t limited to:
- Extremes of temperature or changes in humidity
- Pollen, animal dander (shedding from an animal’s skin or fur) and moulds
- House dust mites
- Cigarette smoke
- Pollution in the air
- Infection, colds or viruses
- Stress and anxiety
- Learning to spot which triggers set off your child’s symptoms can help you avoid them whenever possible.
4. Take them for regular check-ups
Your child should have an asthma review with their GP or asthma nurse every six months, even when they’re feeling well and not having any symptoms. In between these reviews our pharmacists are on hand to offer advice and support and can answer any questions you have about your child’s asthma. Come in store and ask about our FREE Respiratory Support Service.
5. Know what to do if they have an attack
According to Asthma UK, a child is admitted to hospital every 20 minutes because of an asthma attack. Knowing what to do if your child has an attack could save their life.
You’ll know your child is having an attack if:
- their inhaler isn’t helping them
- their symptoms appear to be much worse than usual
- they’re too breathless to speak
What to do:
Step 1 Help them to sit up straight and stay calm.
Step 2 Help them take a puff of their reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30-60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
Step 3 Call 999 for an ambulance if:
- their symptoms get worse while they’re using their inhaler
- they don’t feel better after 10 puffs
- you’re worried at any time, even if they haven’t yet taken 10 puffs.
Step 4 While you wait for the ambulance, reassure your child. Repeat step 2 if the ambulance takes longer than 15 minutes.
Please note: this advice doesn’t apply to children using maintenance and reliever therapy (MART).
6. Talk to your child’s school
- Make sure the school is aware your child has asthma. The school should have forms for you to complete that detail what medicines they take and when, any specific triggers that they should help your child to avoid, and what the signs of an attack are.
- Make sure your child has their inhalers with them on any school trips and that all teachers know what to do if they have an asthma attack.
- If your child’s medicines change in any way, let the school know immediately so they can update their records.
- Clearly label any medicines sent into school with your child’s name and class, and make sure they’re in date (by keeping a record of their expiry date).
- Make sure your child understands what they need to do at school if they feel unwell.
**This is an average figure