Help Your Child Gain Control Over
Office of Air and Radiation
It’s hard to see your child sick. The good news is that
you can help your child gain control over asthma. That
means fewer days out of school and fewer attacks that
can be scary for you and your child.
Along with the doctor, you have an important role in
helping your child control asthma. We congratulate
you for reading this booklet.
“My daughter Carrie has asthma. Life is a lot easier
since we put together an asthma action plan with her
doctor. She’s sick a lot less now.
“Coming up with a plan that works and making sure
medicines were taken on time and the right way really
cut down on her sick days. Going through the house to
get rid of the ‘triggers‘—those things that brought on
Carrie’s asthma—made a huge difference too.”
—Rita, mom of 7-year-old Carrie Lynn
To get the most from this booklet
You will want to read this booklet to learn more
about helping your child prevent asthma attacks.
The booklet is broken into two parts.
• Read Part 1 for how to create a plan to take control
• Read Part 2 for ways to find and keep things away
from your child that trigger—or bring on—your
child’s asthma attacks.
• Share this booklet with friends, family, teachers,
daycare staff, and your child’s doctor.
• Put this booklet in a handy place and
pull it out to read now and again when
you need it. We hope the practical tips
listed will help your child have
fewer problems with asthma.
Read this booklet to learn
about helping your child.
Create a plan to take control
Learn about asthma
Learn about asthma attacks, what causes
an attack, and warning signs that show
your child’s asthma may be getting worse.
Be aware of your child’s
Find out how to stop an attack before it
Make an asthma action plan
Work with your child’s doctor to design
a daily plan and a rescue plan that work for
Learn about asthma
Learn about asthma and the early warning signs
before asthma gets out of control. Work with your
child’s doctor. Come up with an asthma action plan
that works for your child.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease that causes the airways of the
lungs to tighten and swell. It is common among
children and teens.
What is an asthma attack?
An asthma attack happens when your child has
asthma and their lungs aren’t getting enough air to
breathe. Your child may cough or wheeze during an
What causes an asthma attack?
Things that cause asthma attacks are called triggers.
Triggers are everywhere. Your child’s home or school
can be full of triggers such as pests and mold. Read
Part 2 on page 15 to learn more about triggers.
“I found it helpful to learn all I could about asthma.
It made it easier to talk to my son’s teacher when I
knew what to tell him to look for if Tyler has an
asthma attack in school.”
—Mary, mom of 9-year-old Tyler
Tell the school if your child has asthma.
Be aware of your child’s warning signs
Often your child may show warning signs. Warning
signs are clues that your child’s asthma may be getting
A very young child may not be able to tell you how he
or she feels. So you may have to watch a younger child
more closely to find out if something is wrong.
How will I know if asthma is getting worse?
Learn your child’s warning signs and catch an attack
before it gets worse. While warning signs differ from
child to child, parents report some common signs.
Think about the last time your child had an asthma
attack. On the next page, check off the signs you
noticed before the attack. Be sure to go over this
checklist with your child’s doctor.
Asthma Warning Signs Checklist
How he or she looked
or seemed to feel
Coughed at night
Acted very restless
Had a cold or the flu
Face was pale
Had a fever
Had dark circles under the eyes
Had a stuffy or runny nose
Had tightness in the chest
Had a tickle in the throat
Seemed to feel weak or tired
Sneezed and had watery eyes
Seemed to have a headache
List other signs here that you have noticed:
Emergency Warning Signs
There are times when you need to take your child to
the hospital or urgent care right away.
Ask your child’s doctor what emergency signs to look
for to help you know when your child is having a
medical emergency with asthma.
Some parents know their child is having a medical
emergency with asthma if he or she:
• Is breathing in a different way: faster, or slower,
or more shallow than usual.
• Is coughing or wheezing and can’t stop.
• Has bluish fingernails or lips.
Write your child’s emergency signs here: