One of the best things you can do to look after your child’s asthma is to make sure they’re always using an up-to-date asthma action plan. Following the steps on this handy plan means your child is far less likely to have asthma symptoms or an asthma attack. Sharing your child’s action plan with friends, family, school and after school clubs means everyone who needs to know how to look after your child’s asthma has an easy way to do it – and you get peace of mind.
If your child hasn’t got one yet, it only takes three easy steps:
- Download a plan
- Book an appointment with your child’s GP or asthma nurse
- At the appointment, talk it through and fill it in with your child’s GP or asthma nurse
Children under 12 can benefit from our award-winning My Asthma Plan.
This colourful ‘My Asthma Plan’ is designed especially for children age from six to 11. Fill it in with their GP or asthma nurse. It lists the medicines your child needs to take every day to stay well, what to do if their asthma gets worse, and what to do in an asthma attack.
Children 12 and older might prefer to use our written asthma plan for adults.
This plan is designed for adults and children age 12 and over. Fill it in with your GP or asthma nurse. It lists the medicines you need to take every day to stay well, what to do if your asthma gets worse, and what to do in an asthma attack.
What do parents say about their child’s asthma action plan?
“Zak’s written asthma action plan gets updated any time his treatment changes. I make sure that the school and the boys’ dad have a copy too, so that we’re all working from the same guidelines. It’s got all the important information on it and I find it very helpful to make sure everyone is doing what they should be.” - Hayley Wing, mum of Zak, 10, who has asthma.
“When George started school I took in an asthma action plan so they knew as much information as possible about his triggers and what to do when he didn’t feel right. I was keen to stress that teachers shouldn’t let him get to the stage where he’s struggling for breath, and that they should always call me straight away if there’s any concern.” - Sarah Johnson, who has two sons with asthma, Thomas, 12, and William, 3.
“One of the Asthma UK Helpline nurses suggested that Kenji should have a written asthma action plan. He’s shared it with his mates and the school has a copy too – everyone is trained up in how to help him if he shows symptoms, which makes everyone feel more confident and less anxious about his safety.” - Ernie McDade, whose son Kenji, 13, had his first asthma attack last year.
“Sami has an asthma action plan – it’s really useful because I’ve given one to the school so they know what to do if he gets symptoms or needs his blue reliever inhaler.” - Shakeela Riaz, mother to Sami, 6, who has asthma.
What are the benefits of using an asthma action plan?
Using an action plan is one of the best things you can do to keep your child well and safe. Following a written asthma action plan can mean your child doesn’t miss out on sports or school trips because of their asthma symptoms. More importantly, it can stop your child ending up in hospital with an asthma attack. Don’t put yourself in a position where you’re looking back, thinking things could have been different if you’d only used an action plan. Using a written asthma action plan means:
- your child’s less likely to have asthma symptoms or an asthma attack
- you can share it with anyone who’s looking after your child
- you can use it if your child’s having an asthma attack – this is especially helpful if you’re panicking, or it’s in the middle of the night and you’re tired and finding it hard to think straight
- you’ll feel confident you’re doing one of the best things you can to look after your child’s asthma well
- you and your family will have peace of mind, knowing you’ll be sure what to do if your child’s symptoms get worse
- you’ll feel more organised because all the information about your child’s asthma is in one place
Get the best from your child’s action plan
Some parents of a child with asthma tell us there’s a fear at the back of their minds that their child could have an asthma attack. Their friends and family worry too. And that worry grows when asthma symptoms are there. Using and sharing a written asthma action plan will help to restore your peace of mind. Here’s how to get the best from it:
- As you fill in the plan with your child’s GP or asthma nurse, discuss each section – they’ll make sure it’s personalised for your child. If your child’s old enough, you can involve them in the discussion too, so they’ll have a better understanding of how their asthma is being looked after.
- When you get home, chat to your child about it – even if your child is still really young, you can explain that the plan is where you and the doctor write down all the things that will help them stay well with their asthma. If your child is older, you can give them a copy and talk through each section. It’s also a good idea to ask them if they have any questions.
- Take it to your child’s regular asthma reviews (at least every six months) - your GP or asthma nurse may need to update it.
- Take it to all your child’s appointments – even if they’re seeing their GP for something other than their asthma, or if you’re taking them to A&E or to see a consultant, it’s always useful to have it with you so the doctor can see all their up-to-date information and update it if necessary.
- Keep it in an obvious place – sticking iton the fridge or the family noticeboard, for example, means you and other family members can always find it easily. It’s also a good idea to take a photo of the information in it on your phone so it’s always handy. If your child’s old enough, get them to take a photo of it on their phone, too.
- Share lots of copies – you can give a paper copy or email a photo of it to anyone who looks after your child, such as grandparents, family friends, neighbours and teachers.
What’s on your child’s written asthma action plan?
Your child’s asthma action plan tells you what to do every day to keep your child well, how to spot the signs that your child’s asthma is getting worse and what to do if it is – all on one handy document. There are spaces for your GP or asthma nurse to fill in:
- the number of puffs of preventer inhaler your child needs to take and how often (usually twice a day)
- how often your child needs to take any other asthma medicines they’ve been prescribed, and what dose
- the things that make your child’s asthma worse (their triggers)
- the signs and symptoms that mean your child needs their blue reliever inhaler (usually blue)
- the signs and symptoms that mean your child needs to see their GP or asthma nurse
- the signs and symptoms that your child is having an asthma attack, plus what you need to do (including when you need to call 999)
- when your child’s next asthma review is due
- your GP and/or asthma nurse’s name(s) and contact details
- the Asthma UK Helpline number: 0300 222 5800 (9am - 5pm; Mon - Fri).
What other resources help, alongside your child’s asthma action plan?
Our award-winning ‘My Asthma Pack’ for children contains:
- 2 x ‘My Asthma Plan’ (written asthma action plans for children)
- 1 x ‘My Asthma Calendar’
- 1 x set of ‘My Asthma Stickers’
- 1 x ‘Asthma and My Child’ booklet
The calendar and stickers are designed to make logging asthma symptoms fun. The ‘Asthma and my child’ booklet has lots of tips and ideas about how you can help your child manage their asthma well so they can get on with enjoying life.
“What’s really helped us is the Asthma UK children’s pack. I think it helped Emelia to understand the condition and to feel more in control. And it’s really useful for us to take the chart to her six-monthly reviews so we can show the doctor when her symptoms have been worse or when she’s been using her blue inhaler more often.” - Maria Brain, mother to Emelia, 7, who has asthma.
To request a printed child’s asthma action plan, or a complete My Asthma pack, please call 0300 222 5800 and select option 2.
Please note that the calendar and stickers are not available as downloads.
Last updated May 2016