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When Symptoms Get Worse

What to Tell Your Child

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Practice Together

Help your child practice saying, “I’m having asthma warning signs” to an adult so she’ll be prepared to handle an asthma episode.

There are three things that your child needs to do if he feels the warning signs of worsening asthma symptoms. They are simple, but they need to be repeated until the steps become second-nature to your child.

  1. Tell an adult.
  2. Take quick-relief medicine.
  3. Sit down and relax.

Follow your child’s Asthma Action Plan. If symptoms don’t improve with the quick relief medicine—or if they get worse—call your health care provider right away.

Call 911 or go to the emergency room without delay when:

  • Your child’s wheezing gets worse even after you have given her medicine time to start working. (Most quick-relief medicines work within 15 minutes.)
  • Your child’s lips or fingernail beds are turning blue.
  • Nostrils are flaring each time your child breathes in.
  • The skin between the ribs or base of your child’s throat looks like it stretches every time she breathes in.
  • Talking or walking at a normal pace is difficult.
  • Peak flow meter reading is in the red zone.

Help your child become an asthma expert.

Children with asthma have to learn to become experts at reading their own bodies. Asthma comes with warning signs, and if your child learns to read those signs, she can get help before her symptoms get too bad.

Help your child talk about his asthma symptoms.

Go over the common warning signs with your child and talk about times when he may have experienced them. Talk about his peak flow chart and point out times when his rate has been lower, and what he may have felt at those times. It may not be easy for your child to identify how he is feeling, but if you keep talking about times he’s experienced worsening symptoms, he’ll learn to do it for himself.

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.