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What is an asthma attack in a child?

Answered on 11th January 2016
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When the symptoms of asthma become considerably worse, this is known as an asthma attack. In most cases, an asthma attack will develop slowly, with some taking a couple of days to progress to something more serious. Occasionally, some children may be prone to more immediate, unexpected attacks. It is important to recognise these attacks so that you can take appropriate action, and this is covered as part of any asthma action plan.

Symptoms of severe asthma attacks include:

  • Regular asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing and a tight chest becoming more severe than normal and becoming constant
  • Feelings of drowsiness, exhaustion or dizziness
  • A rapid heartbeat
  • Increased rate of breathing
  • A shortness of breath that makes it difficult for your child to eat, sleep or speak
  • The reliever inhaler is not helping symptoms as much as usual / at all
  • Your child’s lips or fingers are turning blue

If you think your child is displaying the symptoms of a severe asthma attack, call 999 to seek immediate help. If you have any other concerns regarding how to manage a severe asthma attack in your little one, contact your GP or asthma clinic as soon as possible.

If you have any other concerns regarding your little one’s health in general, make an appointment to see your family doctor. This can also be used as an opportunity to review your little one’s asthma action plan.


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