Keeping track of your child's symptoms and peak flow

We show you how to track your child’s symptoms and peak flow in just two minutes a day

Tracking your child’s symptoms is simple and takes just minutes.

Every time your child experiences a symptom, note down:

  • The date
  • A description of the symptom – what did you notice? How did your child say they felt?
  • What triggered it? Was your child doing exercise? Were they outdoors?
  • What did you do to relieve it? Did they use their blue inhaler?

Tracking symptoms is easiest when you find a system that works for you and your family. You could use your phone, a notebook or a chart on the fridge – whatever fits most naturally into your routine.

You could also choose a combination of these. For example, you could set yourself a phone reminder to fill out your wallchart.

It can also help to ask carers, such as teachers or friends and family, whether they’ve noticed your child’s symptoms.

Top tip: video symptoms on your mobile phone

This gives your doctor the chance to hear and see your child’s cough or wheeze first hand, so they can work out how their symptoms have changed.

Why track your child's symptoms?

Your doctor can’t be with your child 24/7 to see all their symptoms, but you can be your doctor’s eyes and ears. You know your child better than anyone, so are best placed to help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

Tracking symptoms might feel like just another job to add to your list, but it can actually make life easier in the long run by helping your doctor to make a diagnosis and treat your child.

Here are just some of the reasons why tracking symptoms is a good idea:

  • To help different medical professionals – like asthma nurses and consultants - quickly see your child’s symptom history and where you are in the diagnosis process.
  • If you’ve been given medicines, tracking your child’s symptoms will tell your doctor if they’re working.
  • To help identify triggers
  • To help you work out when your child might need their reliever inhaler.
“I have started to use a diary to record their symptoms, triggers, weather conditions that day, and the number of puffs of the reliever inhaler he’s been given. It helps us spot patterns and work out what brings the symptoms on."
Sarah, mum of Thomas, 13, and William, 3, who both have asthma.

Measuring your child's peak flow

In some children tracking their peak flow can be helpful, alongside keeping an eye on their symptoms.

If your doctor asks your child to use a peak flow meter, you can download our Peak Flow Diary. It includes peak flow tracker and full instructions on how to record readings.

Remember, tracking your child’s symptoms is really important. If your child’s symptoms get worse always take action, even if their peak flow reading is fine.

Don’t worry if your child struggles to do their peak flow – this is common. You can just focus on tracking their symptoms.

Support to help you track

If you’d like to compare notes with other parents of children with asthma symptoms, you can get tips and support on the Asthma UK Parents' Facebook Page.

You can also WhatsApp our friendly asthma nurse specialists on 07378 606 728 or give them a call on 0300 222 5800 to talk through any concerns. Both are open 9-5 Monday to Friday.

Last updated July 2018

Next review due July 2021

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