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Asthma and wheezing

What you can do

Talk to school

Share your child's asthma care plan with their school. It is important for school to know what to do in an emergency. If your child does not have an asthma care plan, talk to the school about what they would need to do to support your child.

Ensure school have all of your child's medications, spacer and that they are in date.


Be aware of asthma symptoms

If you are worried that

  • Your child's symptoms are getting worse
  • The reliever inhaler (usually blue) isn't working
  • Their breathing is getting faster or doesn't sound like normal
  • They are too breathless to speak, eat, play or sleep
  • They are complaining that their tummy or chest hurts.

You should:

  • Sit your child in an upright position. Try and keep your child calm, and encourage them to take slow, steady breaths
  • Take 1 puff of their reliever inhaler (usually blue) through their spacer every 30 to 60 seconds, up to a maximum of ten puffs
  • Call 999 for an ambulance if you don't have access to an inhaler, things are not getting better after 10 puffs or you are worried at any point.
  • Never be frightened of asking for help in an emergency.


Help your child learn to use a spacer

  • Take the cap off the inhaler. Check there is nothing inside the mouthpiece
  • Shake the inhaler
  • Place the inhaler in the end of the spacer
  • Support your child to put the mask over their nose and mouth, making a good seal so no medicine can escape
  • Press the top of the canister once so that one puff of medicine goes into the inhaler
  • Count to 10 slowly (say ‘One, and two, and three,’ to get the timing right)
  • If you need to give further doses, repeat all the steps again, waiting 30 seconds between each puff. Remember to remove the inhaler and shake it between puffs
  • Wipe your child’s face afterwards, to remove any medicine that might have landed on their skin which could cause redness and irritation.

Who can help?

If you are not sure whether your child is seriously unwell, call 111 or your GP for advice.

In an emergency, call 999 for an ambulance or go to your nearest A&E department.

For non-urgent health advice contact our Bedfordshire & Luton Children's Health HUB:
0300 555 0606 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm)


For non-urgent advice as a parent, you can text a health visitor on Parentline

Bedfordshire - 07507 331456

Luton - 07507 331886


For non-urgent advice as a young person aged 11-19, text our school nursing team on ChatHealth

Bedfordshire - 07507 331450

Luton - 07520 616070

Links and additional information

Asthma UK, advice for children with asthma

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