Health A-Z


Asthma - children: self care

The most important part of managing asthma is what you do at home, school, work or play. Yes, it's important to see your doctor/nurse and be on the right medication or inhalers, but it's up to you to find a way to help your child remember to take inhalers every morning and evening (or to remember to do this for them if they are too young to do this themselves).

Self care for asthma

What to do at home, school or play
  • Ask questions – make sure you understand how your child should take their medications and what triggers your child should avoid.
  • Check your child's spacer and inhalers – these need cleaning once a week and replacing once a year.
  • Take action to help your child avoid asthma triggers such as cigarette smoke.
  • Help your child to keep active and physically fit – most people with asthma have far fewer symptoms when fit.

Ask for an asthma action plan 
Ask your doctor or nurse for an asthma action plan (see the side bar). You can take this home to help you remember what to do when your child is unwell with asthma.

  • Green zone – when well, take your preventer inhaler one or two times a day as directed by your doctor
  • Yellow Zone – if you develop a cold (runny nose, cough or sore throat) your doctor may suggest you take your reliever inhaler 2 to 4 times per day.
  • Orange Zone – if you are getting wheezy, coughing or your peak flow is dropping, follow the instructions about what to do.
  • Red Zone – this tells you what to do if your symptoms are getting worse or if anyone has trouble talking, or is very short of breath. In NZ, ring 111 for emergency help.

Develop skills & support network
By learning more about asthma, you and your child are more able to identify and reduce the things that kick off their asthma (triggers). Skills you can learn include:

  • Increased knowledge and understanding about asthma and its treatments.
  • Problem solving skills.
  • Communicating well with your child's healthcare team.
  • Confidence to know how to monitor your child's signs and symptoms of asthma.
  • Know what to do when asthma flares by following your child's asthma action plan.

Source: Health Navigator

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Source: Health Navigator