Does keeping on top of your child’s asthma feel a bit of a challenge? Or are you just breezing through and not taking it too seriously? What about your partner, or others in the family? Do they look at things differently to you?
Try our quick quiz to find out just how everyone in your family is coping with your child’s asthma – and where you could be making life easier.
Jot down your answers A, B or C so you can add up your scores at the end.
1) You’re half a mile into your journey when you realise you’ve left your child’s reliever inhaler (the blue one used for emergencies) at home. Do you:
A: hesitate, go a little further, have a mini debate about it, and finally turn around to go back and get it
B: immediately turn around and go back to get it
C: carry on and leave it at home because you don’t think they’ll need it anyway.
2) You’re running late for work and school. Your child’s waiting by the front door when you realise they haven’t taken their usual preventer inhaler (the one they need to take every day as prescribed). Do you:
A: chase around looking for it, panic about the time, then rush out without getting them to take it
B: call your child back in to take it, and encourage them to rinse out their mouth afterwards
C: leave it because you’re late and you’re not convinced it’s essential anyway.
3) You get a call from your child’s asthma nurse or GP inviting your child for their regular asthma review. Do you:
A: add it to the ‘to do’ list for later – you’ve got so many things to get to first!
B: call to make your child an appointment as soon as you can, and write it on the calendar
C: ignore it because your child seems fine so they don’t need an asthma review.
4) Your child is wheezing and coughing more than usual. Do you:
A: give them their reliever inhaler to take, try not to worry, and tell yourself you’ll keep an eye on them
B: watch while they take their reliever inhaler, ask if they’ve been around any of their asthma triggers, and check their written asthma action plan to see what you should do next
C: tell them to calm down and send them to bed early.
5) Your child is asking for a cat but you’ve noticed that their asthma symptoms are worse around animals. Do you:
A: put off making a decision, tell your child you’re ‘thinking about it’ and worry about how disappointed they’ll be if you say no
B: explain to your child that a cat isn’t a good idea because it will make their asthma symptoms worse
C: go kitten shopping and hope for the best.
6) You’ve got friends and family over for a get-together. Some of them smoke. Do you:
A: hope people will offer to smoke outside but keep a window open in case they don’t
B: explain that smoke is a trigger for your child’s asthma and ask people not to smoke
C: not really think about it. It’s only for one afternoon so it’s not worth the embarrassment of saying anything.
7) Your child’s been invited to a birthday party in an adventure playground. Do you:
A: ask your child not to run around too much because you’re worried about their asthma
B: tell the host your child has asthma, leave contact details, and make sure your child has their reliever inhaler
C: make sure your child has a card and a gift and remind them to bring home some cake.
8) It’s the first day of a new term at school. Do you:
A: wish you’d sent your child’s reliever into school with them and call in at lunchtime to check on them
B: arrange a quick chat with their new teacher and leave a spare reliever inhaler and spacer (with your child’s name on) along with your child’s updated asthma action plan
C: wave them off at the school gates and tell them to be good.
9) Your child had an asthma attack on the last day of your holiday away – luckily their reliever inhaler got things back in control quickly but it was still a scary experience. When you get home, do you:
A: try to put it behind you, but make sure they take a puff of their reliever inhaler whenever they start coughing
B: make an appointment with your child’s GP or asthma nurse as soon as you can to talk about what happened and review their asthma medicines
C: not get too worried because they seem fine now so it was obviously a one-off.
If you answered:
You know you need to take your child’s asthma seriously, but you’re not as confident as you could be. We have lots of confidence-boosting information and advice, and tips for getting into a good asthma routine.
Make life easier with a good routine!
Getting into a good routine doesn’t take as long as you might think, and can make a big difference to how your child deals with their asthma triggers, as well as those stressful school mornings. Help things run a bit more smoothly by:
- keeping your child’s written asthma action plan on the fridge or a noticeboard so it’s always easy to find and use every day
- keeping your child’s preventer and spacer in the same place, such as the bathroom cabinet, and making sure your child uses them just before they brush their teeth in the morning and evening.
- getting into the habit of talking to your child’s teachers and friends and family about your child’s asthma.
Boost your asthma knowledge and confidence by taking a good look around our ‘Asthma and your child’ section. Find out more about:
- your child’s asthma medicines and why they need to take them
- the best ways to cut your child’s risk of asthma symptoms
- how to make life with asthma in the family run more smoothly.
Well done - you’re doing really well! Here are a few extra tips to help you stick to a good routine, be ready for symptoms, and encourage your child to learn good asthma management skills too.
Keep the routine going with handy reminders!
Help your child remember to take their preventer inhaler by connecting it to things they do every day anyway like brushing their teeth or getting dressed. Try post-its on the fridge or the front door to remind you to pack your child’s reliever inhaler.
Check your child’s inhaler technique
It’s great that your child takes their preventer inhaler every day – but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on how they’re taking it too. Good inhaler technique means your child’s asthma medicine can be more effective. Ask your child’s GP or asthma nurse to regularly check your child’s inhaler technique.
Be ready for symptoms
Asthma symptoms can come and go and sometimes get worse, for example during hay fever season or when your child goes back to school in the autumn. So make sure you’re on the ball with a written asthma action plan and a symptom calendar. Don’t forget to keep it somewhere everyone in the family can see it too.
Teach your child good habits
Help your child learn how to look after their own asthma when they’re at school or out and about with friends. Getting into good asthma habits means your child can go off and enjoy things like Scout camp, sleepovers and school trips without you having to worry.
You’re someone who’s a bit too easy-going about your child’s asthma. But if asthma isn’t managed well it can develop into an asthma attack. It’s time to take asthma more seriously! You’re in the right place for expert advice on the best ways to keep your child symptom-free and cut their risk of an asthma attack.
Try two things to cut your child’s risk of an asthma attack
- a written asthma action plan is recommended as the best way to cut your child’s risk of symptoms and asthma attacks – so make sure your child doesn’t miss out
- take up the offer of an asthma review for your child every six months. This is the best way to make sure your child’s getting the best care for their asthma – it’s also a chance to ask questions and check your child’s inhaler technique
Get to know your child’s medicines
If you know a bit about your child’s asthma medicines and how they work it’ll help you get clear on:
- why your child needs to take their preventer every day, even when they’re feeling well
- why it’s a good idea to have your child’s reliever inhaler with you all the time in case they get symptoms.
Get yourself into a good routine!
Make looking after your child’s asthma part of their daily routine, as simple as brushing their teeth morning and night. Taking their asthma medicines as prescribed, even when they feel well, means you and your child can carry on enjoying things from parties and play dates to new school terms because they’re less likely to have asthma symptoms getting in the way.
Results a bit of a mixture?
Whatever your results were, whether it was a clear A, B or C, or a mixture of all three, the main thing to remember is how a few simple things can help your child stay well and boost your confidence about asthma and how to manage it.
The more you can fit your child’s asthma care into your usual routines as a family, the easier it will be for everyone, including your child, to get on and enjoy life without asthma getting in the way.
And if it turns out that you answered differently to your partner or others in your family, don’t despair! See it as a chance to find out more, talk it through and arrive at common ground.