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Asthma in children

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We’re here to help your children live with asthma

Whether your child has had a recent diagnosis or is already living with asthma, we can offer confidential advice on how to help your child control their asthma symptoms and get the most out of their medicines. We can help you to determine how well your child has managed their medicines and where they might need a bit of extra support.

What are the symptoms of asthma in children?

Do you think that your child has asthma? Typical signs and symptoms of asthma in children include:

  • coughing
  • wheezing
  • difficulty breathing
  • chest tightness

It’s important that you talk to your GP or one of our pharmacists if you have noticed that these symptoms are:

  • frequent
  • worse at night or early in the morning
  • happening after your child has come into contact with an asthma trigger - to find out more about asthma triggers visit our page here
  • still happening when your child doesn’t have a cold

It is also helpful if you keep a diary of your child’s asthma symptoms, noting down the time of day that they appear and whether you have identified any triggers

What are my child’s asthma triggers?

To help your child better manage their asthma it is important to understand what is causing their symptoms.

There are lots of things that could trigger your child’s asthma. In some cases, it could be obvious what’s causing it but sometimes it could take a little longer to work out. It is important to try and identify a common cause or irritant so that you can help your child avoid it in future and learn how to deal with it.

Triggers can include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Extremes of temperature or changes in humidity
  • Pollen, animal dander (shedding from an animal’s skin or fur) and moulds
  • House dust mites
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Pollution in the air
  • Foods
  • Exercise
  • Infection, colds or viruses

How can I help my child take control?

  • Talk to your child about their asthma and encourage them to be involved in managing it
  • Find out more about your child’s medicines and how they should be taken to get maximum benefit. Your child’s asthma is more likely to be controlled if they’re using their medicines as directed by the GP or asthma nurse.
  • Make sure your child knows how to use their inhaler correctly. Our healthcare team can help you and your child master the technique.
  • Keep inhalers and spacers clean and dust free.
  • Make sure your child has an asthma action plan and regular reviews with an asthma nurse or GP.

If you notice that your child’s current treatment is not controlling their symptoms, speak to your one of our pharmacists, your asthma nurse or GP for advice

As well as reducing the chances of an asthma attack, your child’s medication is designed to reduce:

  • Daytime symptoms
  • Night time waking due to symptoms
  • Use of reliever inhaler
  • The chance of asthma affecting day-to-day life e.g. school or exercise

How can I help them manage their asthma at school?

  • Make sure the school is aware your child has asthma. The school should have forms for you to complete that detail what medicines they take and when, any specific triggers that they should help your child to avoid, and what the signs of an asthma attack are.
  • Make sure your child has their inhalers with them on any school trips and that all teachers know what to do if they have an asthma attack.
  • If your child’s medicines change in any way, let the school know immediately so they can update their records.
  • Clearly label any medicines sent into school with your child’s name and class, and make sure they’re in date (by keeping a record of their
    expiry date).
  • Make sure your child understands what they need to do at school if they feel unwell.

Manage their NHS prescription on the go

You can now manage your whole household medicine on the go. With LloydsDirect by LloydsPharmacy, you can manage your family medicine and get it delivered for free, plus handy reminders to re-order. All in an easy to use app on your phone. Learn more about LloydsDirect and family medicine management.

What are the two types of inhalers?

If you want to improve your inhaler technique or your child's, you can use a spacer to make taking the medication easier. Spacers are effective for any age, but they are essential for helping children to take their medicine. Please pop into your local LloydsPharmacy and ask a member of our friendly team for more information. If you find it difficult to hold your inhaler or press the canister down, consider a Haleraid that attaches an easy-squeeze handle to the inhaler.

The two types of asthma inhalers are:

Asthma inhalers


This opens up their airways over a period of time and reduces the inflammation in their lungs. To keep your child’s asthma under control, they need to use this inhaler every day.


Your child should keep this inhaler with them at all times and use it whenever they experience shortness of breath. It will help open their airways quickly and help them breathe more easily. You should keep a spare inhaler at school in case of emergencies, so ask your GP to prescribe an extra one for them.

What do I do if my child has an asthma attack?

According to Asthma UK, a child is admitted to hospital every 20 minutes because of an asthma attack. Knowing what to do if your child has an attack could save their life

You’ll know your child is having an attack if:

  • their inhaler isn’t helping them
  • their symptoms appear to be much worse than usual
  • they’re too breathless to speak

What to do:

Step 1 – Help them to sit up straight and stay calm.
Step 2 - Help them take a puff of their reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30-60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
Step 3 – Call 999 for an ambulance if:

  • their symptoms get worse while they’re using their inhaler
  • they don’t feel better after 10 puffs
  • you’re worried at any time, even if they haven’t yet taken 10 puffs

Step 4 – While you wait for the ambulance, reassure your child. Repeat step 2 if the ambulance takes longer than 15 minutes. Please note: this advice doesn’t apply to children using maintenance and reliever therapy (MART)

The allergic triangle, what is it?

Did you know you’ll often find that a person with asthma may also have eczema or get hay fever, and vice versa, and the trigger factors for each may be the same?

This is because there’s a link between the conditions – they can all be described as ‘atopic’. It means that people with one atopic condition are more likely to experience what’s known as ‘allergic hypersensitivity reactions’.

If your child has one allergic condition, it may be the only one they ever experience, but they can also often go on to develop further allergies and allergic conditions during childhood. These may overlap, so that they have more than one at a time, or one allergy may ease off as another starts.