In recent decades, CO2 and pollution levels have been on the increase, especially for those who live in major metropolitan areas. The dust, smoke particles and traffic fumes can be devastating to a person’s lungs, children are even more at risk, as their lungs haven’t fully developed and if they have been diagnosed with asthma, living in a largely populated area can be incredibly difficult.
Caring for a child with asthma can be daunting and you can feel concerned if you are able to manage the onset of an asthma attack. The rise of CO2 and pollution levels in the city can exacerbate the condition and highlight the difficulty in trying to manage asthma and minimise the triggers.
The majority of asthmatic children can self-manage their condition well and go through life without suffering from any major symptoms. But a low percentage of all children affected by asthma have to deal with harsher symptoms that have a stronger influence, and more often than not, would need specialist care to help maintain their welfare.
We have put together a helpful guide to help understand the varying severity stages of an asthma attack. While our advice might not equate exactly to what you and your child may be going through, hopefully a few good guidelines could help in getting you on the right track.
Having a solid asthma action plan in place is vital, going day to day without one can become confusing and problematic. By taking the time to go build a plan step by step and familiarising yourself, your child and any other close relatives with the necessary precautions, can go a long way in preparing everyone for any and all possible emergencies.
Ensuring your child has an asthma pump available with them is crucial, if you can leave a spare pump in places where your child is likely to spend a lot of their time; such as at school, any regular visited family members and they should always carry their own pump on them.
The main goal is to understand the different colour zones concept of your child’s asthmatic state, which are the green, yellow and red zones:
This is the optimal zone for the child to be in. Here they can freely carry on with their daily school and play activities. Even so, it’s best to continue with their regular medication to maintain a healthy state.
The Yellow zone is the cautionary level where you keep a close eye on your child to look out for the symptoms below.
It’s vital to stay in sync with your child’s medication routine, to prevent their condition deteriorating. Therefore, you should always make sure there is quick and easy access to their prescribed medications, particularly their quick relief medications. Quick relief medications, such as Salbutamol inhalers and the tablet Leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRA’s) are often called ‘rescue medicines’, as they ease any short lived symptoms (the names may differ to your individual medication), while the regular medicine doses help prevent flare-ups in the long term. If you think the above scenario is apparent and the medications don’t appear to be helping, it is best to consult with a doctor or other medical professional, who may inform you to repeat a dose or consult with them in person.
The red zone means there’s an emergency, which means to call professional medical assistance immediately, as a severe flare-up is occurring that, if not handled properly, could be extremely risky, and possibly fatal. The following are symptoms to look out for:
We understand that parents/guardians often face their own challenges when caring for a child with extreme asthma, such as needing to take time off on short notice. In some cases, it may also be that the parents/carers feel pressure either at work or in their personal life due to having to explain why their child needs time off school, having to change or cancel holiday plans. To combat the stress that you and your child may be going through, there’s plenty of support options available, such as helplines, charities and counselling, to aid the both of you:
Asthma UK Helpline Anxiety UK
0300 222 5800 03444 775774
9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday
Asthma UK WhatsApp Service British Lung Foundation
07378 606 728 03000 030 555
9am – 5pm, Monday – Friday