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A child using his inhaler.Childhood asthma – advice for parents and children

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also develop for the first time in adults.

Symptoms of asthma

The most common asthma triggers include:

  • a whistling sound when breathing (wheezing)
  • breathlessness
  • a tight chest, which may feel like a band is tightening around it
  • coughing

The symptoms can sometimes get temporarily worse. This is known as an asthma attack.

Asthma is caused by swelling (inflammation) of the breathing tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. This makes the tubes highly sensitive, so they temporarily narrow.

It may happen randomly or after exposure to a trigger.

Common asthma triggers

Common asthma triggers include:

  • allergies (to house dust mites, animals or pollen, for example)
  • smoke, pollution and cold air
  • exercise
  • infections like colds or flu

There’s currently no cure for asthma, but there are simple treatments that can help your child’s symptoms under control so it does not have a big impact on their life.

By speaking with your healthcare professional (this could be a nurse, your GP, or your pharmacist) you can understand more about asthma triggers and access your own Personal Asthma Action Plan that will help you manage your condition. Sticking to your Plan is the best way to manage your condition.

There are lots of resources available to give you all of the information that you need about the steps you can take towards improving yours or your child’s asthma including a leaflet for children for young people and one for parent and carers. These leaflets are available in English, Urdu, Punjabi and Bangla and are available to download below.


Resources

Leaflets

Videos

Help your child to manage their asthma – a video for parents and care givers.

Managing your asthma – four videos for children and young people about:

  • asthma triggers
  • asthma management techniques
  • the impact of poor asthma management
  • your Asthma Management Plan

These animations and leaflets were developed using feedback from children, young people and families with asthma or respiratory illness living on Oldham as part of a six month pilot which was launched at the Royal Oldham Hospital.

Watch this video to learn more about this work:

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