What is Asthma?
Asthma is an inflammatory disease that affects the lungs causing the airways to narrow, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma can be distressing for you and your child.
Asthma is a common condition affecting 1 in 11 children and young people, with every school classroom containing 1 or 2 children with asthma. If not treated well, asthma has a significant impact on a child’s quality of life and their ability to enjoy activities and education. It also puts them at risk from episodes of breathing difficulty, known as asthma attacks.
Sadly, some children and young people with asthma will die from these attacks every year. These episodes are preventable with good asthma care delivered in partnership with the child or young person through empowering them to manage their asthma.
We want to help children and young people with asthma, and their families and carers, to understand how to manage their condition so they can live full lives, without missing out.
It may cause breathlessness, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness.
- Spotting symptoms of asthma in your child
- How to talk to your child about asthma
- Why do I have asthma?
There are four simple steps, or as we call them asks, which can help children and young people to manage their asthma:
1. Get an asthma action plan in place
A written action plan drawn up between a healthcare professional and patient helps you keep all the information you need to look after your child's asthma well in one place. It reduced the risk of going to hospital for asthma-related reasons by four times and you should take it to every medical appointment.
2. Understand how to use inhalers correctly
More than 1 in 4 children with asthma are not using their inhaler correctly. Poor inhaler technique means patients don’t get the full benefit of their asthma medication. There are free inhaler guides and videos on the Beat Asthma website. You can also ask your GP or asthma nurse to check your child's technique at their next review. Alternatively, ask a pharmacist to check your child's technique when you next pick up their asthma medications.
3. Schedule an asthma review – every year and after every attack
An asthma review by an appropriately trained clinician after every attack helps to work out what went wrong so you can adjust the asthma management plan as needed. A child with asthma should have a review at least once every year. If thier GP surgery hasn't invited for a check-up, it's fine to book the appointment yourself. Find out more about how to get the most out of your child's asthma review.
4. Consider air pollution and its impact on lung health
Know your triggers and consider air pollution and its impact on lung health - find out more:
Resources and asthma information
By raising awareness, we can help even more children and young people to ask about asthma and get the right care. If you have asthma, or you are the parent of a child or young person with asthma, speak to your GP or GP practice nurse to discuss getting an asthma management plan in place.