Managing asthma:
from triggers to treatments

Whatever it's triggered by, your child’s asthma can make day-to-day life tricky if it’s not managed properly. If your little one is showing symptoms – whether slight wheezing or full attacks – or has been diagnosed with this common condition, don't panic. It’s possible to treat and control asthma so that your child can continue to enjoy all their favourite things.

what is asthma?

If the tiny tubes in your child’s lungs become squeezed or inflamed by certain triggers – like dust, cold air or exercise – the airways can become blocked, causing a sticky mucus to develop. This makes it much harder for your child to breathe, so they’ll have coughing and whistling in their chest. Not all wheezing means they have asthma, so it’s important to visit the doctor for a proper check-up.

Reduce the risk

Each child’s triggers are different, and they’ll be more or less tolerant to the things that set off their reaction. Your doctor will be able to help you work out their triggers, and once you know them you’ll be able to make a few changes at home. This might mean getting rid of feather-based bedding, or avoiding grandma’s cat, and should help to make your little one’s asthma more manageable.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that many children grow out of asthma when they get to 16, so keep track of their symptoms and watch their progress as they grow.

Take the treatment

Doctors usually prescribe two types of treatment: one to treat the asthma, and one to prevent it coming back. This usually stops the symptoms from becoming overwhelming for your child. Fit their preventer medicine into their routine alongside brushing their teeth to make it easy to remember.

Relievers usually come in a blue inhaler and the medicine they contain – salbutamol (Ventolin) or terbutaline (Bricanyl) – will help to keep their asthma under control by relaxing the muscles around the airways, making it easier to breathe.

Preventers are often added if your little one needs to use a reliever more than once a day. They can come in brown, orange or red inhalers and often contain steroids to calm down the swelling in the airways. They should be used regularly to reduce the chance of symptoms occurring, although they can take up to two weeks to start working.

The doctor will want to carefully monitor your child to check that the treatment prescribed is working or if it needs adjusting. Stick your treatment plan on the fridge to keep track of what’s going on day to day, whether there are lots of symptoms or none at all.