Asthma is a chronic (ongoing) condition which can generally be well managed with a care plan put in place by good communication between you and your child’s doctor. Understanding your child’s condition and identifying possible triggers is essential to help to prevent a flare up. Uncontrolled asthma can in severe cases result in what is known as an asthma attack. This is an acute situation where urgent care is needed and where you can play an important role in helping your child to recover. Asthma attacks usually follow a few days or worsening symptoms so it is important not to ignore any decline in your child’s respiratory health. However, even with the best will in the world, asthma attacks are not always preventable so it is important that we as parents know how to act if one happens. So what does an asthma attack look like? Well according to the NHS the following symptoms occur in a severe attack:
- your (or your childs) reliever inhaler (which is usually blue) is not helping symptoms as much as usual, or at all
- wheezing, coughing and chest tightness becoming severe and constant
- being too breathless to eat, speak or sleep
- breathing faster
- a rapid heartbeat
- feeling drowsy, exhausted or dizzy
- your childs lips or fingers turning blue (cyanosis)
As you can see it is important for us to know how to act in the case of an asthma attach and so I have included below a combination of the best information from the HSE and also the Asthma Society of Ireland. The Asthma society is an amazing organisation who provide excellent resources full of the best advice and so I strongly recommend checking their site out if you suspect your child has asthma.
In the case of a severe asthma attack please follow the following recommendation from the HSE:
The Five Step Rule
During an Asthma Attack – Follow the Five Step Rule
- Take two puffs of reliever inhaler (usually blue) immediately
- Sit upright and stay calm
- Take slow steady breaths
- If there is no immediate improvement take one puff of reliever inhaler every minute (You can take up to 10 puffs in ten minutes – Children under 6 years can take up to 6 puffs in ten minutes)
- Call 999 or 112 if symptoms do not improve after following steps 1 -4 OR if you are in worried
If an ambulance does not arrive within 10 minutes repeat Step 4.
The asthma Society have this fantastic infographic which you can print off and give to family members or anyone who will be caring for your child so that everyone know how to respond to an asthma attack!
A few things to remember
- It is also important to remember with a child you should use a spacer device if available to ensure correct administration of medicine.
- Try not to cuddle your child or restrict them in any way that may hinder their breathing.
- Keep them sitting upright.
- Bring all records you have, including medicine packaging and inhalers to the doctor or hospital with you and also your child’s asthma treatment plan if you have one. This will help the doctors to treat your child more effectively.
- Always look for a medicine review after an asthma attack to try to prevent it from happening again in the future.
For more information on asthma you can click here for my full article which explains the signs, symptoms and treatment options 🙂
For my hints and tips on inhaler technique and for information on what a space device is you can click here 🙂
I hope you have found this article helpful and if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact me by sending a private message to the WonderBaba facebook page or my website contact page or by calling me (Sheena) at Milltown totalhealth Pharmacy in Dublin 6 on 012600262.