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Babysitting: Dealing With Asthma Flare-Ups

When a child has an asthma flare-up, the small airways in the lungs become irritated and swollen, making breathing difficult.

Some asthma flare-ups are mild and others can be severe. Still, it's very important to deal with both types of flare-ups right away.

Possible signs and symptoms of a mild asthma flare-up:

  • wheezing
  • coughing
  • chest tightness

Possible signs and symptoms of a severe asthma flare-up:

  • trouble breathing even when sitting still
  • difficult speaking without pausing
  • feeling tired or drowsy
  • blueness around the lips
  • the areas below the child's ribs, between the ribs, and in the neck sink in with each breath

If a child has asthma flare-ups, follow the asthma treatment plan the parents gave you.

If a child shows signs of a severe flare-up, call 911 immediately, and then contact the child's parents.

Help prevent asthma flare-ups by:

  • encouraging the child to avoid doing things that trigger flare-ups
  • keeping track of the child's asthma medicine schedule
  • keeping inhalers or other medicine where you can find them, just in case an attack happens

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: October 2010

Kids Health

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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