What to do after your child's asthma attack

What to do now to help your child get better and stay well after an asthma attack

Book an urgent follow up appointment and use your child’s action plan, to help them recover after an asthma attack and get back to their usual activities.

On this page:

See your child’s GP for an urgent follow up

Even if it seems like your child is better now, take them along to this important follow up appointment. It could mean the difference between them having another attack or not.

  • If you dealt with your child’s asthma attack at home - make an urgent same day appointment, even if your child seems better now.
  • If your child’s asthma attack was treated in hospital - take them to see their GP within two working days. The hospital should have arranged this follow up appointment for you, but if they haven’t, it’s fine for you to book it yourself.

What your GP or asthma nurse can do in the follow up appointment

As well as checking how your child’s symptoms are now, the GP or asthma nurse can: 

  • prescribe more medicine if your child needs it, such as more prednisolone
  • check your child’s using their inhaler and spacer in the right way
  • update your child’s asthma action plan so you’ve got all the information in one place to lower their risk of another asthma attack
  • talk to you about when your child might be ready to do their usual activities like school and sports.
  • book another appointment in a few weeks to see how your child’s getting on.

You’ll need to take:

  • your child’s inhalers
  • any other medicines they’re taking
  • your child’s asthma action plan
  • your child’s peak flow meter if they have one
  • any discharge letters if your child went to hospital.

Help your child take their medicines

Your child’s usual preventer medicines protect their airways, lowering their risk of symptoms and an asthma attack.

Help them improve their inhaler technique by:

  • watching our inhaler videos
  • asking your child’s GP or asthma nurse to check their inhaler technique.

Even a small change to their technique can lead to big improvements in their asthma symptoms, because more medicine gets to your child’s airways.

If your child was given oral steroids, like prednisolone, they need to keep taking these as prescribed, even if you think they seem better now.

Follow the doctor’s instructions on how to take them, and for how long. When you take your child to their review appointment, you can ask about this.

Use your child’s asthma action plan

This is a key tool to help you lower your child’s risk of an asthma attack and keep them out of hospital.

You can use their action plan to:

  • help you remember the medicines they need to take every day
  • know what action to take if their symptoms start coming back
  • give to school, sports teachers, grandparents or anyone looking after them, so they know how to look after your child and their asthma while in their care. Tips for explaining your child's asthma. 

If you don’t have an asthma action plan, make sure you get one. Take it along to your child’s follow up appointment, so your child’s GP or asthma nurse can help you fill it in. 

Take time to rest, recover and get back to normal

Asthma nurse specialist Debby Waddell gives her expert tips to help you and your child recover after their asthma attack:

Let your child rest as much as they need to

“They’ll probably be tired for a few days, and may not be sleeping so well - this is quite common, so try not to worry.

But do go back to their GP or asthma nurse if they’re being kept awake by coughing, because that’s a sign their asthma isn’t under control.”

Help your child feel reassured and safe

“Your child may be upset or frightened by what’s happened. You may notice signs like not wanting to play with friends, having problems sleeping or, in younger children, wetting the bed.

If you’ve got other children, they might be scared too. Talk about what’s happened, and about all the things you can do now to manage your child’s asthma symptoms and stop another attack.”

Send them back to school when they’re ready

“Sleeping, eating well, and having no asthma symptoms are all good signs your child is ready to go back to school. If you’re not sure, ask your child’s GP or asthma nurse when they think they’ll be ready.

You could try and get a meeting with your child’s teacher so you can get the support you and your child need. You can talk about what’s happened and explain what medicines your child is on. This is just one of the things you can do to make sure your child stays safe with their asthma at school or nursery

Ask them to let you know if your child is coughing, or needs to use their reliever inhaler, at playtime or during PE. And make sure they have a copy of your child’s asthma action plan.”

Doing sports and activities again

Once your child is better, and managing their asthma well with the help of an asthma action plan, there’s no reason to think they can’t do sports and activities. In fact, exercise and keeping fit will help them stay well and cut their risk of another asthma attack.

Just make sure they always have their blue reliever inhaler with them and know to stop, and tell an adult, if they get symptoms.

What to do if your child has an asthma attack

Understand your child's asthma symptoms 

Last updated June 2020

Next review due June 2023