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HealthInfo Canterbury

Ways to help manage asthma

There are a number of ways you can help manage your child's asthma.

Keep active and eat well

Keeping active improves asthma symptoms and management. Some people are frightened that exercise may bring on an asthma attack. However, if the child's asthma is well controlled, this should not happen.

If your child is overweight, your doctor or practice nurse will be able to give advice on ways to lose weight. Losing weight will help improve asthma symptoms.

Avoid cigarette smoke

It's very important that your child is not exposed to cigarette smoke at home or in the car. The best option for your child is for all smokers in the family to quit smoking, or at least, only smoke well away from the child. See How to become smokefree for advice and information about quitting smoking.

Have a flu vaccination

Viral infections, like coughs and colds, can make asthma worse. It is almost impossible to avoid these. But your child can reduce their chance of catching the flu, which is a more serious viral infection, by having a flu immunisation.

If your child has to use a preventer, they are eligible for a free annual influenza immunisation (flu jab). For more information on the flu vaccination and to check who is eligible for a free vaccination, see Influenza (flu) vaccinations. It is worth considering immunising the whole family.

Keep your home healthy

A cold, damp, or mouldy house may worsen or trigger your child's asthma. See Keeping your home warm and dry for information about subsidies to help with the cost of heating and insulation.

The Asthma Foundation has information about keeping your home healthy, including how to deal with condensation and dampness and keep warm.

Avoid triggers

A trigger is something that makes asthma worse or brings on an asthma attack. Triggers are different for everyone, but common triggers include animal fur, emotions such as being upset, colds and other viruses, dust mites, exercise, pollen, moulds, and chemicals and sprays used around the home. By keeping an asthma symptom diary, you may be able to find out your child's triggers.

The Asthma and Respiratory Foundation has information about common asthma triggers. Also see Triggers from Space to Breathe.

If your child has an allergy to dust mites, you might like to try using dust-mite proof covers for their mattress and pillows. You can buy these covers from CanBreathe.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Updated May 2017.

Page reference: 42441

Review key: HIASC-12638