Asthma flare-ups (also called "asthma attacks") can be dangerous, so if your child has them often and uses rescue medication more than a couple of times a week, talk to your doctor. It's possible that your child's asthma action plan needs to be adjusted.
The severity and duration of asthma flare-ups vary from person to person and even from attack to attack. They might happen without warning, with sudden coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. But because people with asthma have inflamed airways that worsen with gradual exposure to triggers, flare-ups can also build up over time, especially in those whose asthma isn't well controlled.
Flare-ups can and should be treated at their earliest stages, so it's important to recognize early warning signs. These clues are unique to each child and might be the same or different with each asthma flare-up. Early warning signs include:
Managing your child's asthma includes doing all you can to avoid flare-ups. That means working with your child to:
Not all flare-ups can be prevented, and because they can be life threatening, they demand immediate attention. Your child might need to take rescue medication, visit the doctor, or even go to the hospital. For that reason, you should have an asthma action plan.
Work with the doctor to write this plan, which provides instructions on how to handle changes in your child's breathing. This will help you know exactly what to do, even in an emergency.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
|American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.|
|American Lung Association The mission of this group is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Contact the group at: American Lung Association|
61 Broadway, 6th Floor
NY, NY 10006
|Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics (AAN-MA) Through education, advocacy, community outreach, and research, AAN-MA hopes to eliminate suffering and fatalities due to asthma and allergies. AAN-MA offers news, drug recall information, tips, and more for treating allergies and asthma. Call: (800) 878-4403|
|AIRNow A cross-agency U.S. government website, AIRNow provides useful air quality information, including daily Air Quality Index forecasts and details on conditions in more than 300 U.S. cities.|
|Asthma Action Plan When things are confusing, a plan really helps. Check out this asthma action plan, which you can print out and use to manage breathing trouble.|
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|Handling an Asthma Flare-Up Because they can be life threatening, asthma flare-ups can and should be treated at their earliest stages. So it's important to recognize their early warning signs.|
|Handling an Asthma Flare-Up How can you prepare for an asthma flare-up? Find out in this article for kids.|
|What's a Peak Flow Meter? Kids who have asthma use peak flow meters to measure how well they are breathing. Find out more in this article for kids.|
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