What to do during an asthma attack?

Your child has asthma, and it is frightening to know that he or she is always at risk of an asthma attack. If it happens, you might be shocked, scared, and confused. However, knowing what to do in a moment like this could make the difference.

How to know your child is having an asthma attack

  • Complain of a tummy or chest ache
  • Coughing or wheezing increases
  • Start breathing fast or hard
  • Trouble talking or walking
  • Inhaler is not working

The moment an asthma attack occurs, there are four steps you need to follow:

  1. Help them sit up straight and calm them down.
  2. Assist them with emergency inhaler administration per your doctor’s recommendations.
  3. If their symptoms are getting worse or they don’t feel better after using the inhaler, call 911 to seek medical assistance.
  4. Help your child stay calm while waiting for medical responders. Repeat step 2 if the ambulance takes more than 15 minutes.

After the initial treatment has passed, follow these steps to reduce the risk of another asthma attack in the near future:

  1. Make sure asthma medication (inhaler) is administered properly and that it is taken exactly as prescribed.
  2. If you don’t have an asthma plan set in place, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider to create one. If you do have one, make sure it is up to date and that it’s being followed. According to Asthma UK, people who use written asthma action plans are four times less likely to need emergency treatment for their asthma than those who don’t use them.
  3. Give your child time to recover. Having an asthma attack can be exhausting and they might need time to recover. Talk to your healthcare provider to determine an appropriate amount of time for recovery.

Managing asthma can be challenging, but you are not alone.  At Florida Pulmonary Research Institute, we aim to understand and tackle asthma. If your child has asthma, consider a research study at FPRI as an option. Qualified participants are evaluated by board-certified physicians and may receive study-related care and medication at no cost. In addition to learning more about how to manage the asthma symptoms, participants may have access to possible new treatment options. Compensation is also available for time and travel expenses.