The main symptoms of asthma are:
Your GP will be able to diagnose asthma by asking about your child's symptoms and carrying out some simple breathing tests. These can be difficult to do in infants and young children, so the diagnosis might be made based on the symptoms and response to a trial of treatment with an inhaler.
Most treatments are taken using an inhaler:
Asthma can normally be kept under control using medication however it is a serious condition that can cause complications.
Symptoms can sometimes get temporarily worse, known as an asthma attack. You mustn’t ignore these if they’re getting worse.
Signs of your child having an asthma attack are:
If their symptoms improve and you don't need to call 999, make an appointment for your child to be reviewed by their GP or asthma nurse within 24 hours.
You can help your child to remain healthy by identifying and avoiding asthma triggers, if possible, and making sure they take their medication as prescribed. Your child should have an annual asthma review with their GP or Practice Nurse.
You must inform your child’s school that your child has asthma, and make sure they have their medication with them in school.
For children attending state maintained schools, free schools or academies, our school nursing service is here to support you. You’re welcome to contact us for one-to-one advice and support. Once our service has been informed, either by you or the school, that your child has asthma, you’ll be asked to complete an asthma action plan. Alternatively, your child’s school might ask you to do this directly. The plan details your child’s symptoms, the medication they’re taking and what to do in an emergency. Please ensure your child’s asthma is reviewed annually and their action plan is updated as needed.
Some schools will allow pupils to carry their inhalers with them; some schools prefer to keep them in a central place. It’s important for you and your child to be aware of their school’s policy as this will vary and might also depend on the age of the child. You should ensure your child has their inhalers with them if they’re going on a school trip. Generally, by the time they go to secondary school, children should carry their inhalers with them.
The school nursing service delivers asthma updates to school staff. This supports schools to ensure they have the most up to date knowledge of asthma and that they know how to support your child if they’re unwell in school.
If your child attends an Independent school, please make their school aware they have asthma. The school will then be able to inform you of their provision for children with asthma.
As your child grows up, help them understand their asthma and encourage them to recognise their symptoms and be increasingly independent in managing their inhalers.
If your child attends a state maintained school, free school or academy in Berkshire, your school nursing service is available to offer support and advice to you and your child. We offer asthma updates to school staff to support them to help your child remain healthy in school.
We run a full service Monday to Friday term time and a reduced service throughout the school holidays.
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