Asthma is a condition which affects the lungs. They are often swollen and inflamed. If the sufferer comes into contact with an irritant then they may start coughing and wheezing, suffer from a tight chest and become short of breath.
There can be many different things which cause asthma attacks including allergies, smoke, animals or house dust.
Asthma is common in young children and is usually treated with inhalers which the child can administer himself/herself. If it is a very young child it may be necessary for the teacher to keep the inhalers handy for him/her.
Children with asthma should not be excluded from exercise but may become wheezy. If they have preventative inhalers they should take a couple of puffs before they start, they should take part in warm up activities before rigorous exercise and their inhalers should be close by if they need them.
In the event of an attack let the child take their reliever inhaler immediately. Stay calm and reassure the child. help him/her to breathe slowly and deeply. It is best to do this sitting upright or leaning forward slightly. Give him/her water. If there is no improvement after 5 – 10 minutes or the child is severely distressed or getting exhausted, call a doctor or ambulance. Do not take the child to hospital in a car as the condition may worsen quickly.