Acute Asthma Attack Treatment for Children
Call 911 if the child is:
- Having a hard time breathing
- Constantly coughing
- Unable to talk, eat, or play
- Turning blue in the lips or fingers
- Convulsing while breathing (using stomach muscles excessively to breathe)
If he does not have the above symptoms but is still complaining of trouble breathing or coughing, do the following:
1. Notify the Child’s Health Care Provider Immediately
2. Follow the Child’s Asthma Plan, if Possible
- Find out if the child has an individualized asthma action plan from a health care provider.
- If so, follow directions for giving asthma medication and seeking medical help for acute asthma attack.
- Bring a copy of the child’s asthma action plan to show the ER staff.
3. Give Quick-Relief Medicine
If the child has no asthma action plan but has an inhaler:
- Sit child upright comfortably and loosen tight clothing.
- Give one puff of quick-relief medicine from child's inhaler, always with a spacer.
- Ask child to take four breaths from spacer.
- Give three more puffs, with four breaths between each.
- Wait four minutes. If there’s no improvement, give another four puffs.
If the child doesn’t have an inhaler, use one from a first aid kit. If you are sure this is an asthma attack and the child has used quick-relief asthma medicine before (albuterol), you can borrow someone else’s.
- An emergency room doctor will check the severity of the attack and provide treatment, including medication.
- The child may be discharged home or hospitalized for further care, depending on response to treatment.