6 Simple Steps to Manage Your Child's Asthma | Family Health

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Manage Your Child’s Asthma with these Six Simple Steps

Did you know that asthma is the leading chronic disease in children? Asthma is a long-term disease that affects the airways in and out of your lungs. About 8% of children under the age of 18 currently have asthma, according to the CDC1. It is very important to diagnose and control for children because they have smaller airways.

How do you know if your child has asthma?

Be aware of warning signs and symptoms of asthma in children. Coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, rapid breathing and chest tightness are all signs of asthma. Talk with your child’s pediatrician about getting them tested if you see these signs. If you and your family do not have a PCP, you can find one using our Find a Doctor Tool.


There are some signs that may require you to seek immediate medical help for your child. If you see one of the following signs, seek medical help immediately:

  • Fast breathing with the skin sucking in between or around the chest and/or rib when breathing in
  • A very pale or blue color on the face, lips or fingernails
  • Rapid movement of nostrils
  • Ribs or stomach moving in and out deeply and quickly
  • Expanded chest that doesn’t deflate after breathing out
  • Unable to respond to or recognize you


What triggers asthma symptoms in children?

Asthma symptoms are triggered by environmental factors in children. Allergens like pollen and mold, irritants like cigarette smoke and even infections can cause asthma. Season changes may worsen asthma symptoms, especially during the cold of winter and heat of summer. For some young people, exercise can also trigger reactions2.


How to use your inhaler

Ensuring that both you and your child know how to properly use an inhaler can be life saving. Follow these simple steps when using an inhaler:

Full instructions:

Remove the cap from the mouth piece. Make sure it’s ready and clean.

Shake the inhaler for a few seconds.

Spray the pump of the inhaler. Follow the instructions since each brand is different

If a spacer or VHC is needed remove the cap from the mouthpiece. Make sure it’s clean and ready.

Place the inhaler in the rubber ring on the end of the spacer/VHC.

Stand or sit up straight.

Take a deep breath in. Tilt the head back slightly and blow out completely to empty the lungs.

Place the mouthpiece of the inhaler or spacer/VHC in the mouth and close the lips around it to form a tight seal.

Press on the top of the canister while slowly and deeply inhaling for 3 to 5 seconds.

Hold the breath and count to 10.

Take the inhaler or spacer/VHC out of the mouth. Breathe out slowly.

If 2 puffs of medicine per dose are needed, wait 1 minute and repeat steps 6 through 11.



How can you manage your child’s asthma?

Inhalers aren’t the only way to manage your child’s asthma. Encourage and help your child learn how to follow these simple lifestyle tips to keep asthma under control:

  • Pay attention to weather alerts. Your child should avoid spending lots of time outdoors when there are high pollen alerts.
  • Keep children inside during extremely hot and cold days. Both temperature extremes can cause difficulty breathing.
  • Check humidity and pollen levels daily.
  • Visit your doctor for regular checkups. They may have advice on how to adjust your child’s medication.
  • Limit exposure to smoke, dust and mold as they can irritate lungs.
  • Exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced diet.


What if your child doesn’t have the rescue inhaler?

While it is very important that your child has their rescue inhaler with them always, there are other things they can do to cope with an emergency attack. These simple steps to slow down breathing, are a few things to begin with:

  • Stay calm. Stress and tension could tighten up the child’s airways even more.
  • Encourage child to take slow, calm breaths
  • Help the child sit up straight to help open  airways.
  • Move them to a clean environment. Triggers like dust, smoke or chemicals in the air may have caused the reaction.
  • Seek medical attention if symptoms do not slow down after making these changes3.


Asthma is a life-long disease, and a simple trigger like smoke can cause an attack. Be prepared to help your child recover quickly. Need help managing your child’s asthma symptoms? Gateway Health Lifestyle Management program is here to assist.

You can also download our kids & asthma guidebook here


To learn more about the program, you can call and speak to a Care Coordinator. Care Coordinators are available Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/asthma.htm
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/asthmainchildren.html
  3. https://www.healthxchange.sg/asthma/complications-management/survive-asthma-without-inhaler

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