What do people need to care for a child with asthma? It is important that anyone caring for a child knows he/she has asthma and is provided with: ——The child’s asthma action plan written by their doctor ——An Asthma First Aid Plan (there is a copy in this pamphlet) ——An in-date blue reliever puffer, a spacer – and mask for very young children ——Preventer medication – if the child is in care at the time of day that this is given Make sure the carer knows that if the child’s asthma is getting worse, they need to: ——Follow the child’s asthma action plan, or ——Follow the standard Asthma First Aid Plan if the child’s own asthma plan is not available Be prepared ... learn Asthma First Aid
What help is available? Your doctor, pharmacist or local Asthma Foundation can help you learn more about asthma. Education, information and support are available from your local Asthma Foundation. Asthma Australia provides training and support for Education and Children’s Services to become Asthma Friendly. Ask your child’s care service or school if they are Asthma Friendly.
Help children with asthma breathe better Create smoke free homes and cars. Children of smoking parents are twice as likely to have symptoms of asthma before they are five years old. For further information contact QUIT 13 78 48
Sit the person upright
Give 4 puffs of blue reliever puffer medication
Asthma & under 5s
— Be calm and reassuring — Do not leave them alone
for parents and carers
— Use a spacer if there is one — Shake puffer — Put 1 puff into spacer — Take 4 breaths from spacer Repeat until 4 puffs have been taken Remember: Shake, 1 puff, 4 breaths
Wait 4 minutes
Ask your local Asthma Foundation about further information including:
— If there is no improvement, give 4 more puffs as above
If there is still no improvement call emergency assistance (DIAL OOO)* — Say ‘ambulance’ and that someone is having an asthma attack — Keep giving 4 puffs every 4 minutes until emergency assistance arrives
——Asthma B asic Facts ——Asthma M edications —Children’s — Asthma - Education and Care services You can also ask about community education and training programs. Schools and Early Childhood education/care services can access training to be asthma friendly.
*If calling Triple Zero (000) does not work on your mobile phone, try 112
Call emergency assistance immediately (DIAL 000) — If the person is not breathing — If the person’s asthma suddenly becomes worse, or is not improving — If the person is having an asthma attack and a puffer is not available — If you are not sure if it’s asthma Blue reliever medication is unlikely to harm, even if the person does not have asthma
To find out more about asthma contact your local Asthma Foundation 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) asthmaaustralia.org.au
Translating and Interpreting Service 131 450 All Asthma Australia information is endorsed by our Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee and is consistent with the National Asthma Council Australia clinical guidelines. Asthma Australia information does not replace professional medical advice. People should ask their doctor any questions about diagnosis and treatment. ©Asthma Australia 2013
To find out more contact your local Asthma Foundation 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) asthmaaustralia.org.au © Asthma Australia 2013
Supported by the Australian Government
Translating and Interpreting Service 131 450
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Australia License.To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/ licenses/by-nc/3.0/au/ or send a letter toCreative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA. This resource is supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Asthma Management Program.
Your information can help a doctor decide if a child has asthma. The doctor will ask about:
The doctor may suggest asthma medication to see if this reduces symptoms.
——the child’s/family history of asthma and allergy ——a description of the child’s symptoms
The type of medication will depend on:
Lung function tests are used to diagnose asthma, however very young children are unable to perform this. Lung function tests can be attempted from the age of six years.
Symptoms Young children with asthma can have a range of symptoms. Children describe these symptoms in different ways, for example:
How common is asthma? One in ten Australian children has asthma. It is one of the most common reasons children visit the doctor and go to hospital.
What causes asthma? It is not fully understood why children develop asthma, though people with asthma often have a family history of asthma, eczema and hayfever (allergic rhinitis).
Will my child grow out of asthma? Many children find their asthma improves as they enter teenage years. At this time, there is no way of predicting if a child will continue to have asthma. Children are more likely to continue to have asthma into adulthood if they: ——Have allergies ——Are female ——Have a parent, brother or sister with asthma ——Are exposed to cigarette smoke ——Are overweight or obese ——Have severe, persistent asthma
——Sore tummy ——Sore chest ——‘Frog’ in their throat And you might notice symptoms such as: ——Shortness of breath ——Wheezing ——Persistent cough – often at night, early in the morning or during/after activity Recognising these symptoms as asthma means you will be able to respond in the best way.
What makes the child’s asthma worse?
——How frequently the child has symptoms ——How unwell they become with asthma
Always keep a blue reliever puffer, spacer, (and mask, if needed) with the child for treating: —— worsening symptoms or —— an asthma attack
Helpful hint Make a note of when the child’s symptoms appear worse and what you think may have set off their asthma symptoms. Being able to identify these triggers can help you and the doctor make sure the child has the best asthma plan for staying safe and well. Relievers (blue) All children with asthma should have a blue reliever puffer. Some children only need to take this medication to relieve symptoms now and again. If blue reliever is needed three times or more per week, see the child’s doctor as soon as possible.
Devices Asthma medications come in a range of devices. Young children require a small spacer to help get the medications into their lungs. Very young children also need a mask - see image below.
Preventers (autumn/desert colours)
Some children need to take medication to prevent/reduce asthma symptoms. These medications are called preventers and are used every day, even when the child is well. This may be for a set period, for example over winter, or all year round.
It is important to have an up to date written asthma plan. A plan explains what medications the child needs to take for his/her asthma, and what to do if asthma symptoms worsen, including how to manage asthma during a cold/ virus or flu. Ask the doctor to provide a written asthma plan and review it twice a year.
A trigger is something that sets off/starts or worsens asthma symptoms. Not all children have the same triggers. Colds and respiratory viruses are by far the most common triggers of asthma symptoms in young children. Refer to Asthma Australia’s Basic Facts to read about common asthma triggers: asthmaaustralia.org.au This image shows a spacer and mask being used with a puffer.