How to help your teen manage asthma

Being a teenager can be a difficult time for many young people. And if your teen also has asthma, things may not always seem easy for them. Thankfully there’s lots you can do to help and support them.

According to Asthma UK there are 1.1 million children and 4.3 million adults in the UK currently receiving treatment for asthma. This is the equivalent of one in 11 children and one in 12 adults.

We may not know exactly how many teenagers in this country have asthma. But once a young person reaches the age of around 14, their care may be moved from the children’s asthma clinic or hospital to an adult asthma clinic or hospital. This process is known as transition, and at this time most teenagers should be ready to take more responsibility for managing their condition.

While this happens you can help by discussing any fears or concerns your child may be having about their asthma, and explain how important it is to keep their condition under control to avoid asthma attacks.

It’s essential young people realise their asthma can be controlled and that they can lead a normal life if they manage their symptoms effectively. This means taking their medicines as prescribed and discussed with their GP or asthma nurse, as well as going for regular asthma reviews with their asthma care team. Here are some of the things you should make them aware of:

  • Their asthma triggers – what sets off their symptoms, and how to avoid them.
  • What they should do if their symptoms start to get worse.
  • What they should do if their symptoms become severe.
  • How important it is that they take their medicines as prescribed (even when they feel well).
  • How to make sure they’re using the correct inhaler technique.

It’s also important to make teenagers aware of the effect smoking and being around others who are smoking can have on their asthma symptoms. According to Asthma UK, 82 percent of people with asthma say tobacco smoke affects their asthma. Smoking (either first or second hand) can trigger symptoms or make them worse, and can cause permanent damage to your lungs over time.

Find out more about what you should do in the event of an asthma attack.

Meanwhile, for more advice on managing asthma – including using the correct inhaler technique – speak to your local Careway pharmacist. Find your nearest pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.

On World Asthma Day 2017 (May 2nd), top European asthma experts announced a cure for asthma could be just a generation away. This depends on greater international research collaboration and investment based on recent scientific breakthroughs, says Asthma UK.

“Ten years ago we could never have imagined talking about potential cures being so close,” says Professor Sebastian Johnson at the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London. “Having mapped all the mechanics of asthma we now have a much clearer picture of the research that needs to be done, so that we could be looking at cures for many types of asthma within a generation.”