What are some signs that I need to take my child to the ER?

One of the main goals of maintaining asthma control is avoiding trips to the emergency room for asthma flares. It is however still important that you are able to recognize the symptoms that tell you it is time to go in the event of an attack. These symptoms should be detailed on your child's asthma action plan, and they include:

  • Quick relief medications, like albuterol, are not working.
  • Quick relief medication is not lasting for 4 hours.
  • Wheezing or chest tightness is severe, or worsening.
  • Your child cannot talk or walk because of difficulty breathing.
  • Your child's lips or fingernails are turning blue or gray in color.
  • You notice retractions - the area below or in between your child's ribs, or areas of his or her neck are pulling in as they are breathing.
  • You notice his or her nose opening up wide when breathing.

It is always helpful if you have an Asthma Action Plan that you take that with you to the Emergency Room so that the doctors and nurses are aware of the medications your child is taking for his or her asthma. Once your child is discharged, it is also important that you communicate with his or her asthma provider to decide if any changes need to be made to the current plan of care.