Some flare-ups are mild, but others are serious. If the flare-up is severe, a kid
struggle to breathe or have fast breathing even when sitting still
not be able speak more than a few words at a time without pausing
have sucking in of muscles in the neck and chest while breathing in
Flare-ups happen because the airways
in your lungs become more irritated and swollen (puffy) than usual. The lungs might
make sticky mucus, which clogs the airways. And the muscles around the airways tighten
up, making the airways really narrow. These problems make it hard for the lungs to
pull air in and push air out.
You can learn to handle asthma flare-ups. Here are three ways to be prepared:
Learn how to spot clues that mean you're likely to have a flare-up.
Have a plan for how you will deal with a flare-up, no matter where you are (home,
school, a friend's house, or on vacation).
After you've had a few flare-ups, you may notice that you feel a certain way when
one is coming on. You might have a tight chest, an itchy throat, or a tired feeling.
Or do you have a cough, even though you don't have a cold? If you have a peak
flow meter, this might be a good time to use it.
What Should I Do if I Have a Flare-Up?
Get help if you feel like a flare-up is about to happen. Let people around you
know what's going on, and then remember your asthma
action plan. That's the written plan created with your doctor that tells you which
medicine to take and what to do next. Don't ignore the flare-up or hope it will go
away on its own. It won't and you might end up in the emergency
Can I Prevent Asthma Flare-Ups?
You also have the power to prevent flare-ups, at least some of the time. Here's
what you can do:
Always have your inhaler and spacer with you.
Stay away from things that may cause flare-ups (your triggers), such as tobacco
smoke, cold air, pet dander, or pollen. If you don't know your triggers, ask your
parents or your doctor.
Take your long-term control medicine as directed. Don't skip it or take less of
it because you're feeling better.
Work with your parents and doctor to follow an asthma action plan.