Asthma is a narrowing of the breathing tubes called bronchii. It’s often caused by allergies, and may be triggered by exercise. But if the asthma is kept under control, your child will be able to live a normal life, including participating in sport and all other activities.

What to do

The most common treatment is an inhaler, usually containing a steroid component as well as something to open the airways. Keeping asthma controlled is important. You can also help by keeping the child’s exposure to allergens such as dust, pollen and animal dander to a minimum.


  • In young children the first symptom is often a recurring cough especially with a cold or after exercise.
  • Sometimes it happens only at night.
  • You can hear your child wheezing if you get close to her, and she may struggle to breathe.
  • During severe attacks breathing will be noisy and difficult, she will struggle to speak, be restless and her lips and tongue might turn slightly blue. 
  • Sometimes children cough until they throw up.


  • See your doctor. 
  • If asthma is diagnosed, you can manage it at home.
  • In severe cases take your child to hospital.


  • Management of the environment that causes astham will reduce the severity of attacks.
  • If diagnosed with asthma, your child will have been prescribed a drug called a bronchodilator, which will be used during an attack. 
  • At the start of an attack the seriousness can be relieved by giving the medication, then sitting your child up in a humidified room or steamed bathroom. 
  • In a severe attack, take your child to the doctor or hospital. 

For more detailed info on Common Childhood Conditions, go to Health24.

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