First Aid
    During an asthma flare-up (or attack), the airways in the lungs become irritated and swollen, making breathing harder.

    Some flare-ups are mild, but others can be life-threatening. So it's important to know how to spot them and deal with them right away.

    Signs & Symptoms

    Of an asthma flare-up include:

    • wheezing
    • coughing
    • chest tightness
    • shortness of breath

    Of a severe asthma flare-up include:

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

    What to Do

    Doctors usually give patients a detailed asthma action plan that includes how to prevent and handle flare-ups. If your child has an asthma flare-up, follow the plan's treatment guidelines. Because each child's asthma is different, each action plan will be too.

    Get Emergency Medical Care or Call 911 if Your Child:

    • begins to show signs of a severe flare-up
    • has a flare-up that enters the danger zone (red zone) of the asthma action plan

    Think Prevention!

    To help prevent flare-ups:

    • Help your child to avoid the triggers that can cause flare-ups.
    • Make sure your child takes the long-term control medicine as directed by the doctor — even when feeling well.
    • Make sure your child always has the prescribed medicines and takes them to school and on trips.
    • Be sure your child gets a flu shot every year.
    • Work with the doctor to follow your child's asthma action plan.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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