How to Handle Asthma Flare-Ups
During an asthma flare-up (or attack), the airways in the lungs become irritated and swollen, making breathing harder.
Some flare-ups are mild, but others can be life-threatening. So it's important to know how to spot them and deal with them right away.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of an Asthma Flare-Up?
Of an asthma flare-up include:
- chest tightness
- shortness of breath
Of a severe asthma flare-up include:
- trouble breathing even when sitting still
- trouble speaking without pausing
- feeling tired or drowsy
- blueness around the lips
- the areas below the ribs, between the ribs, and in the neck pull in with each breath
What Should I Do if My Child Has an Asthma Flare-Up?
Doctors usually give patients a detailed asthma action plan that includes how to prevent and handle flare-ups. If your child has an asthma flare-up, follow the plan's treatment guidelines. Because each child's asthma is different, each action plan will be too.
Get Emergency Medical Care or Call 911 if Your Child:
- begins to show signs of a severe flare-up
- has a flare-up that enters the danger zone (red zone) of the asthma action plan
What Can Help Prevent Asthma Flare-Ups?
To help prevent flare-ups:
- Help your child to avoid the triggers that can cause flare-ups.
- If your child is supposed to take a medicine every day, they should keep taking it, even if they feel fine and don’t have any symptoms.
- If your child starts to feel asthma symptoms, they should take the medicine prescribed for quick relief of symptoms. If they already take a daily medicine, the “quick-relief” medicine might be extra doses of the daily medicine, or it might be a different type.
- If your child uses an inhaler, they should always use a spacer with it.
- Make sure your child always has medicine available for quick relief of symptoms (at home, at school, etc.).
- Be sure your child gets a flu shot every year and is up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine.
- Work with the doctor to follow your child's asthma action plan.