Childhood asthma


Around one in 11 children and young people in the UK live with asthma, and the UK has one of the highest prevalence, emergency admission and death rates for childhood asthma in Europe

The Children and Young People’s (CYP) transformation programme has committed in the NHS Long Term Plan to improve asthma outcomes for CYP.

Asthma can usually be managed with inhalers and other medication, however it is important that children and young people with the condition – as well as their parents or carers - understand what triggers their symptoms and how to avoid those triggers.

More about asthma symptoms, triggers and treatment is available on the NHS website.


Information for parents and carers

There are several things you can do to help your child keep their asthma under good control:

  • Check that they take their controller inhaler every day.
  • Make sure their inhaler technique is correct – see videos
  • If they are needing to use their blue inhaler more than three times per week, book an appointment for an asthma review with a GP or practice nurse.
  • Have an asthma review at least once per year, even if their asthma is well controlled. This should include a medication review, inhaler technique check and Personalised Asthma Action Plan (PAAP)
  • Your child’s PAAP should also be shared with school/nursery and your child should have their blue inhaler available in school.  
  • If your child’s school has its own emergency inhaler, make sure that you have also given consent for your child to use this if required.
  • Make sure your child has their winter flu jab

Child-friendly asthma advice

Frequently asked questions

The airway constriction and inflammation caused by asthma can result in common symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath. When these symptoms happen, their severity differs from person to person. They may get better or worse with time. Through daily monitoring of symptoms and medication use, you and your doctor together can create an Asthma Action Plan to help 
you control them.

No, asthma cannot be cured, but it can be managed. Asthma is a chronic disease in the airways of your lungs. You may need to monitor your asthma symptoms every day because the disease is always with you.

Most people with asthma can participate in all types of physical activity. Physical activity can provide many benefits for people living with asthma. Talk to your doctor about how to manage your asthma while playing sports. If you start to have pain or a tight feeling in your chest, have a cough, or become short of breath during exercise, stop the activity right away and follow your doctor’s instructions.

Asthma tends to run in families, which means that you are more likely to develop asthma if someone in your family already has it. Children with eczema or food allergy are more likely than other children to develop asthma.

Allergy to pollen, house dust mites or pets also increases your chance of developing asthma. Exposure to tobacco smoke, air pollution or other inhaled irritants can also cause asthma symptoms in those with an underlying tendency to asthma.

Asthma can start at any age, although about half of all people with asthma have had their first symptoms by the age of 10, and many children with asthma have had their first asthma attack before the age of 6.

Yes, sudden weather changes (e.g. cold winds, humidity and storms) can trigger asthma in some people. Some of these sudden changes can cause the release of allergens, such as pollen, that can make asthma worse in people whose asthma is allergy-related. Cold air can also have a direct irritant effect on inflamed airways.


Digital Health Passport

The Digital Health Passport is an app for children and young people with long-term health conditions, including asthma. It is free to download and can be used to monitor symptoms, record triggers and set medication reminders. You can also upload a copy of your PAAP so that it is easy to access, update and share with relevant people who may look after you. 

Download the app here


Guides to help you manage your asthma

Easy-to-follow guidance on asthma self-management is available on the Beat Asthma website.

Further advice and support to help your child stay well with asthma can be found on the Asthma and Lung UK website.

Download your personalised asthma action plan

Accessibility tools

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