Asthma and young people

We have loads of expert advice to help you with your asthma in your teens and early twenties.

As you move through your teens towards adulthood, you can start to take more responsibility for managing your asthma, just like you're starting to take more responsibility for all the other areas of your life.

With everything that might be going on for you - new schools, exams, going to college, starting a relationship, leaving home – it's easy to forget to look after your asthma properly.

Your asthma might feel like just one more thing to cope with. But if you stay on top of your asthma, everything else in your life will run more smoothly.

Top three ways to manage your asthma 

However you're feeling about becoming a young adult, now's a great time to check in with how well you're managing your asthma. 

Whatever your age, or however long you've had asthma, there are three top things to do to help prevent symptoms and cut your risk of an asthma attack:

  1. Take your medicines as prescribed, even if you feel well
  2. Use your written asthma action plan so you know what to do if things get worse
  3. Go for regular asthma reviews with your GP or asthma nurse to check in on how your asthma's been and make sure you're managing it well

Remember, managing your asthma well is the key to staying symptom-free so you can get on with enjoying life.

Get going with some good asthma habits 

This is a brilliant time to develop some good lifelong asthma habits - like remembering to take your inhalers without your parents having to remind you, for example.

Getting into a good routine can make looking after your asthma not such a big deal - it's just something you do in the background. 

Remember to take your asthma meds

If you're someone that forgets to take your asthma medicines, try linking it to something else you do every day. 

So, if you need to take your preventer inhaler twice a day, maybe keep it on your bedside table so you see it when you go to bed and when you wake up. Or you could set a reminder on your phone or make a note in a diary or planner.

Always carry your reliever inhaler

Don't leave home without your reliever inhaler. Get into the habit of checking it's in your bag or pocket, just as you check for your keys or travel pass.

You could put a reminder on the front door for a while to help you fix it into your memory.

Don't miss your asthma review

Make a note of when you're due for your next asthma check up. Or set yourself a calendar reminder to book one in.

And don't forget to get your inhaler technique looked at while you're there.

Be open about your asthma

Try to get into the habit of being open about your asthma. Talk about it – to friends, family, teachers, employers, as well as to your doctor or asthma nurse.

If you're making new friends at secondary school, college or work, make sure they know about your asthma so they can be there if you need help. 

Know your asthma risks

Make sure you know what it feels like when your asthma's not so good, what puts you more at risk of an asthma attack, and what you can do to stay well. 

  • Do you understand the risks of smoking and being around friends who smoke?
  • Do you know what your triggers are, and do you try to avoid them if possible? 
  • Do you know what to do if you have an asthma attack and do your friends and family know what to do to help you?
  • Have you checked your risk by filling out our asthma attack risk checker?

Did you know that you're four times less likely to have to go to hospital with an asthma attack if you use a written asthma action plan?  If you haven't got one, download an asthma action plan now and make an appointment with your GP or asthma nurse so you can fill it in together. 

Live life to the full with asthma

Look around our health advice section to find out more about what asthma is and how to manage it well, so you can get on with living life to the full.

We've got lots of helpful information about staying well with your asthma. And expert advice that's especially helpful for all the new, exciting and challenging things you might do in your teens and early twenties.

You can find out about managing your asthma when you're leaving homegoing travelling or taking exams, and get advice about getting help with the cost of medicines when you're at university.

And if you're about to move from children's services to adult services – known as 'transition' - we talk you through what to expect.

Need one to one asthma advice?

Talk to one of our asthma nurses if anything's worrying you about your asthma. You can call the Asthma UK Helpline on 0300 222 5800, 9am-5pm Mon-Fri.  


Last updated February 2018

Next review due July 2019