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Quick-Relief Medicines

What to Tell Your Child

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Your child should always have her quick-relief medicine with her.

Quick-relief medicines, also called “rescue” medicines, are the medicines your child needs to use when her symptoms get worse and when she has a breathing emergency. They work fast to help your child breathe by relaxing the muscles around her airways.

Your child needs to have his quick-relief medicine on hand at all times.

Asthma symptoms can occur at anytime and anywhere, so it’s important your child always has his quick-relief medicine with him, or can get to it quickly. This may mean having more than one. For example, it may be best to have a quick-relief inhaler at home and one at school or with an after-school provider. It’s also a good idea to have more than one spacer and peak flow meter. Every state has a law that allows your child to self-carry his quick-relief medicine at school, so talk to the school nurse to learn about your school’s policy. Your child’s health care provider can offer guidance, too.

If your child has asthma symptoms, she needs her quick-relief medicine.

Whenever your child shows symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, feeling tired or grumpy, having pain in her throat or chest, or having difficulty breathing, she needs to refer to her Asthma Action Plan and use her quick-relief medicine as instructed. She should also use it whenever she has a drop in her peak flow meter reading and refer to her Asthma Action Plan for the steps to take to get back into the green zone.

Quick-relief medicines are quick.

Quick relief medicines usually work within five to ten minutes after use. Your child should sit down after using the medicine and relax. This will help the medicine do its work. These medicines may also make your child feel jittery or shaky. Stay with your child to help him stay calm and recover his breath. An asthma episode can be scary for everyone, so the adult needs to stay as calm as possible, too.

Read more about common myths families have about asthma medicines.

Asthma Triggers
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Learn how controlling triggers can reduce your child’s asthma symptoms.

Asthma Action Plan
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Use this convenient form to help manage your child’s asthma.

Medicine Quiz
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Take this quiz to get answers about your child's asthma medicines.