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Parents and Carers

Asthma can be tricky. We understand that managing your child’s asthma can be a confusing process. Below are some important information and resources to help. 
  • Having parent/caregiver support is vital in helping children and youth of any age with their asthma, no matter how old or young they are. 
  • Controlling asthma is necessary to prevent emergency room visits, hospitalization, and death.
  • As children head back to school, ER visits for asthma tend to increase due to seasonal changes, the flu season, and other environmental changes like returning to school. 

Control asthma and prevent emergencies by following the steps below:


6 Steps to Be Prepared & Manage Asthma

1. Understand what asthma is and know child’s triggers.

  • Asthma cannot be cured, however, knowing what the triggers are is essential in preventing and managing asthma attacks and flare-ups. Asthma triggers are anything that makes asthma worse. They release particles that irritates the lungs. Examples of triggers include; mold, dust mites, cleaning products, second-hand smoke, cockroaches, mice, pets, air pollution, allergies, fragrances, etc. Look around your home to see if anything might be making asthma worse. Request a free asthma home visit to help.
  • Asthma Triggers (AAFA)
  • Healthy Homes Checklist
  • Steps to Make Your Home Asthma Friendly (EPA)
2. Develop or update Asthma Action Plan with provider and stick to it.

3. Share Asthma Action Plan and Medication Authorization Form with school staff (school nurse, teachers, coaches etc.).

4. Always take asthma medicine as prescribed.

  • Taking asthma medication as directed and making sure they are up to date is essential for managing asthma. Always have your prescription filled regularly. Some of the asthma medications include: inhalers, nebulizers, as well as long-term and quick relief medicine. For more information on asthma medicine visit
  • Use a spacer – it is the most effective way to get the medicines to the lungs properly.

5. Keep active, the safe way.

6. Get the flu vaccine.

  • It is important to get the flu vaccine since it is much more serious than the common cold. It is the most effective way to prevent the flu, and it can reduce the severity and length of your illness if you do get sick. Young children and those with chronic disease like asthma are at much greater risk of complications if they get the flu. 
  • CDC Asthma and Flu
  • BPHC Flu Vaccine Information

Get Support!  Free Asthma Programs and Services for Boston Residents:

Ask Questions!  

Be sure to ask the provider any question you have. If they don’t have enough time, ask if you can meet with a health educator or nurse.  Some helpful questions:

Sample questions to ask the doctor or health provider:

  1. What does it mean that my child has asthma?
  2. What are signs of an asthma attack or medical emergency?
  3. What will my child’s treatment be?  Ask for an Asthma Action Plan.
  4. How should I talk to my child about asthma?
  5. Do we need to make any changes at home? Can you make a home visit referral? (see below)
  6. Who else needs to know my child has asthma?  What forms do I need for my child’s school/day care/other caregivers?
  7. What other asthma resources are available?

Is My Asthma in Control?

Use the Asthma Rules of 2 test to find out! If you have asthma, your asthma may be poorly controlled if you... 

  • Take a quick relief (rescue) inhaler (like albuterol) for problems more than 2 times a week 
  • Awaken at night with asthma problems more than 2 times a month 
  • Refill a quick relief inhaler more than 2 times a year 

If you have asthma and it is poorly controlled, call your health care provider to make an Asthma Action Plan just for you!


More Tips to Keep Asthma in Control
  • Share Asthma Action Plan with school staff and nurse. Tell them what child needs to be safe and healthy at school. 
  • Identify triggers that make your child’s asthma worse and teach them how to best avoid it
  • Treat allergies to help avoid attacks
  • Ensure your child takes their asthma medication throughout the year, even when symptom-free
  • Help your child understand their asthma, including teaching them how to use their daily medication properly and knowing how to monitor their daily symptoms
  • Get the flu vaccine
  • Schedule regular asthma checkups with provider

Is My Home Making My Asthma Worse?

Do you think your living environment is making your asthma worse? Remember: A healthy home is good medicine!

  • Your living environment can make a big impact on making your asthma better or worse.  
  • BPHC’s free asthma home visiting programs can help you identify what you or your landlord can do to create a healthy home.  
  • If you think something in your home is making your/your child’s asthma worse be sure to use these free resources:

1. Use this asthma-friendly homes checklist to assess your home Healthy Homes Checklist (AAFA) 

2. Request an Asthma Home Visit referral from BPHC.  A trained Community Health Worker will come to your home, review your asthma medications, answer questions, help identify triggers in the home and create an asthma management plan with you. 

3. Request a Breathe Easy at Home referral if you think the issues in the home require the landlord to resolve (For example, mold, moisture, leaks, pests like rodents and roaches, holes where pests can enter from, broken bathroom or kitchen vents). 


Resources for more information on asthma

Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: