View First Aid Advice
|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|Causes & Health Information|
- Symptoms of an asthma attack are wheezing, a cough, tight chest, and trouble breathing.
- Wheezing is the classic symptom. Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling or purring sound. You can hear it best when your child is breathing out.
Causes (Triggers) of Asthma Attacks
- Infections that affect breathing (like colds or the flu)
- Animals (like cats)
- Tobacco smoke
- Irritants (such as smog, car exhaust, menthol vapors, barns, dirty basement)
- Asthma attacks caused by food allergy can be life-threatening
Asthma Attack Scale
- Mild: No Shortness of Breath (SOB) at rest. Mild SOB with walking. Can talk normally. Speaks in sentences. Can lay down flat. Wheezes not heard. (GREEN Zone: Peak Flow Rate 80-100% of normal rate)
- Moderate: SOB at rest. Speaks in phrases. Wants to sit (can't lay down flat). Wheezing can be heard. (YELLOW Zone: Peak Flow Rate 50-80% of normal rate)
- Severe: Severe SOB at rest. Speaks in single words. Struggling to breathe. Wheezing may be loud. (RED Zone: Peak Flow Rate less than 50% of normal rate)
|CARE ADVICE FOR ASTHMA ATTACK|
- What You Should Know:
- Over 10% of children have asthma.
- Your child's asthma can flare up at any time.
- When you are away from your home, always take your child's medicines with you.
- The sooner you start treatment, the faster your child will feel better.
- Here is some care advice that should help.
- Asthma Quick-Relief Medicine:
- Your child's quick-relief (rescue) medicine is albuterol or xopenex.
- Start it at the first sign of any wheezing, shortness of breath or hard coughing.
- Give by inhaler with a spacer (2 puffs each time) or use a neb machine.
- Repeat it every 4 hours if your child is having any asthma symptoms.
- Never give it more often than 4 hours without talking with your child's doctor.
- Coughing. The best "cough med" for a child with asthma is always the asthma medicine. (Caution: don't use cough suppressants. If over 6 years old, cough drops may help a tickly cough.)
- Caution: If the inhaler hasn't been used in over 7 days, prime it. Test spray it twice into the air before using it for treatment. Also, do this if it is new.
- Use the medicine until your child has not wheezed or coughed for 48 hours.
- Spacer. Always use inhalers with a spacer. It will get twice the amount of medicine into the lungs.
- Asthma Controller Medicine:
- Your child may have been told to use a controller drug. Examples are inhaled steroids or cromolyn.
- During asthma attacks, keep giving this medicine to your child as ordered.
- Hay Fever:
- For signs of nasal allergies (hay fever), it's okay to give allergy medicine. Reason: Poor control of nasal allergies makes asthma worse.
- Try to get your child to drink lots of fluids.
- Goal: Keep your child well hydrated.
- Reason: It will loosen up any phlegm in the lungs. Then it's easier to cough up.
- If the air in your home is dry, use a humidifier. Reason: Dry air makes coughs worse.
- Avoid or Remove Allergens:
- Shower to remove pollens or other allergens from the body and hair.
- Avoid known causes of asthma attacks (such as smoke or cats).
- Do not take part in sports during the attack.
- What to Expect:
- If treatment is started early, most asthma attacks are quickly brought under control.
- All wheezing should be gone by 5 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Trouble breathing occurs
- Asthma quick-relief medicine (neb or inhaler) is needed more than every 4 hours
- Wheezing lasts over 24 hours
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
This free app has a symptom checker,
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Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/1/2012
Last Revised: 1/13/2013
Content Set: Child Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.