How Can I Manage My Child's Asthma? For most kids with asthma, their symptoms can be controlled — sometimes so well that flare-ups are rare. But learning about asthma (what treatments to take and when, what triggers to avoid and when) can be the hardest part of asthma care. Don't be discouraged. Learn as much as you can, talk to others living with asthma, read up on asthma, and discuss any concerns with your child's doctor. Once you and your family are used to dealing with asthma, it will become a normal part of your routine. These tips can put you on the right path. Have a plan and stick to it. Your child should have an asthma action plan. These written instructions from the doctor give clear, step-by-step directions on what medicines to take and when, how to avoid triggers, what to do between flare-ups, and how to recognize and manage them if they happen. By following this plan, you will learn how to care for your child and when to call the doctor for help. Take medicines as prescribed. Most kids with asthma need to take medicines. Some are daily medicines (called long-term control medicines) to help keep airways from getting irritated. Others are used only during a flare-up to help open the airways (quick-relief medicines). Most medicines call for the use of a nebulizer or inhaler to help get medicine into the lungs. Sometimes medicine is given as a pill or liquid. The doctor will tell you which medicines your child needs and how to take them. Identify and avoid triggers. Triggers are things that can bother airways and lead to an asthma flare-up. Common triggers are allergens like pollen and mold, weather changes, and viral infections (like the common cold). Finding your child's triggers can take some detective work, but it's worth it. The doctor can help too — for instance, testing your child for allergies if you think they're making the asthma worse. When you know your child's triggers, help your child avoid them as much as possible. Make sure your child gets a yearly flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is recommended for all kids, especially those with asthma. If kids with asthma get the flu, they're at risk for flare-ups and developing a more serious illness. Use tools when necessary. One way to help predict if a flare-up is on its way is to use asthma tools, like an asthma diary and peak flow meter. The diary helps you to keep track of your child's asthma symptoms (when they happen), need for medicines, and more. This can help you learn about your child's early warning signs, and it can help your child's doctor see how well treatment is working. A peak flow meter is a handheld tool that measures how well your child can blow air out of the lungs. It can tell if airways are getting narrow and blocked, and whether your child is at risk for a flare-up. Know the signs of a flare-up. After your child has had a few flare-ups, you may start to notice when a flare-up is going to happen. Early warning signs can help you spot a flare-up hours or even a day before obvious symptoms (such as wheezing and coughing) start. Kids can have changes in how they look, their mood or breathing, or they'll complain of "feeling funny" in some way. Be sure you know your child's signs and are ready to adjust medicines or give them, as needed. Know what to do for a severe flare-up. Know when your child's symptoms call for medical care, or even a trip to the emergency room (ER). Always have quick-relief medicine handy in case your child needs it — everyone who cares for your child (like teachers and coaches) also should know when and how to give the medicine. Back to Articles Related Articles Asthma Center Asthma keeps more kids home from school than any other chronic illness. Learn how to help your child manage the condition, stay healthy, and stay in school. Read More Asthma Asthma makes it hard to breathe. But with treatment, the condition can be managed so that kids can still do the things they love. Learn all about asthma. Read More Asthma Flare-Ups Find out how to deal with — and help prevent — asthma flare-ups ("attacks"), which is when asthma symptoms get worse. Read More First Aid: Asthma Flare-Ups During a flare-up or attack, it's hard to breathe. While some flare-ups are mild, others can be life threatening, so it's important to deal with them right away. Read More Asthma Action Plan Use this printable sheet to help reduce or prevent flare-ups and emergency department visits through day-to-day management of your child's asthma. Read More Asthma Triggers Triggers — things in the air, weather conditions, or activities — can cause asthma flare-ups. By knowing and avoiding triggers, you'll help lessen your child's asthma symptoms. Read More Asthma Center Visit our Asthma Center for information and advice on managing and living with asthma. Read More Asthma Center Asthma means breathing problems. Find out what's going on in the lungs and how to stay healthy, if you have it. Read More School and Asthma Lots of teens have asthma. Here are tips on keeping it under control so you can prevent (or manage) a flare-up at school. Read More How Can I Deal With My Asthma? Asthma is more common these days than it used to be. The good news is it's also a lot easier to manage and control. Read More Asthma Action Plan When things are confusing, a plan really helps. Check out this asthma action plan, which you can print out and use to manage breathing trouble. Read More What's an Asthma Action Plan? An asthma action plan is a written plan that helps you take control of your asthma. Get the details in this article. Read More Handling an Asthma Flare-Up How can you prepare for an asthma flare-up? Find out in this article for kids. Read More What's an Asthma Action Plan? If you have asthma, you'll want to have an asthma action plan. Find out more in this article for kids. Read More Asthma Asthma makes it hard to breathe. Find out more in this article for kids. Read More Asthma Asthma is a lung condition that makes it hard to breathe. Learn all about asthma here. Read More Asthma Action Plan Use this printable sheet to help manage your asthma. Read More Dealing With an Asthma Flare-Up Asthma flare-ups, or attacks, can be handled, but it's even better if you can prevent them from happening. Find out how to deal with flare-ups. Read More Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor. © 1995-2021 KidsHealth®. All rights reserved. Images provided by The Nemours Foundation, iStock, Getty Images, Veer, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com.