How do I identify severe asthma symptoms in my young child?

Small children are very susceptible to breathing difficulties caused by poor air quality, due to their small underdeveloped airways. If you are a parent or carer of a small child, particularly if they have a respiratory condition, you should be on high alert for signs of breathing difficulties. But how do you identify when they are in severe respiratory distress?

  1. Young children experiencing breathing difficulties will use all their chest muscles to breathe
  2. You may notice tugging of the skin at the base of the neck called tracheal tug
  3. Ribs recession may occur where skin around the ribs is sucked in with each breath
  4. Tummy pumping, trying to breathe
  5. Breathlessness trying to do normal activities – for example when playing.
  6. Lethargy and fatigue may be a telltale sign of the above
  7. Reliever medication is not lasting as long

Immediately commence Asthma First Aid, if Asthma First Aid is not effective Dial Triple Zero (000). If your child has any of these symptoms, you should see a GP or go to hospital as soon as possible, don’t delay.

In the event of life threating asthma with symptoms of:

  • Gasping for breath
  • Unable to speak or only 1-2 words at a time
  • Becoming confused
  • Turing blue
  • May no longer have cough or wheeze
  • Not responding to blue reliever

Dial Triple Zero (000) and commence Asthma First Aid.

How to identify mild or worsening asthma symptoms in my child?

Mild asthma may be very hard to identify in children, as symptoms aren’t as apparent, but will still require attention. This is what you can look out for:

  • A persistent cough or a wheeze
  • Can talk in full sentences but may get breathless undertaking normal activities
  • Showing signs of sleep disruption, waking up during the night or early in the morning with asthma symptoms
  • Lethargy, stress or fatigue due to the above.

If your child is experiencing mild to moderate asthma symptoms commence Asthma First Aid and follow your Asthma Action Plan. If you are unsure, seek medical attention, that same day with your regular doctor or your local emergency department (hospital).

Kids Worsening Symptons