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You are a VERY important partner in managing your child's asthma:

  • With asthma in control, your child should be able to live an active, normal life. This includes playing sports and not missing school.
  • Make sure your doctor and healthcare team know what your goals and concerns are, as well as those of your child.
  • Ask questions as often as you wish; write your questions down before you see your doctor or healthcare team.
  • Visit informalberta.ca or call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465) to find asthma resources in your community. Your pharmacist may also be able to help.


Getting a proper diagnosis of asthma:

  • Your doctor will ask about your family history and your child’s symptoms. Your child may have a chest x-ray done. If your child is 6 or older, a lung test called “spirometry” may also be done. NOTE: Even if the spirometry looks normal, your child can still have asthma.
  • Because it can be hard to diagnose asthma, you may have to see your child's doctor a few times. Your child's doctor will be able to tell you if your child (1) does not have asthma, (2) has asthma, or (3) maybe has asthma—this means that more time or more details are needed to make a diagnosis.

Information for you and all of your child's caregivers:

  • Fill out your child's Asthma Action Plan; Click here to download a template.
  • Make sure that your child carries all asthma and allergy medicine with them. If your child needs an EpiPen®, make sure your child always carries it. Make sure your child and all caregivers know how to help your child to take the right medication at the right time. To learn more, go to www.ucalgary.ca/icancontrolasthma

New Asthma Diagnosis:
  • What tests are required to diagnosis asthma?
  • Ask your doctor about spirometry.
  • There are many tests used to diagnose asthma; spirometry is an important test. To learn more about diagnosis, you can read the Canadian Guidelines here.
  • What triggers my child's asthma attack?
  • Ask your doctor about having your child assessed for allergies.
  • How do we get asthma in control?
  • Learn what to do how to give medicine(s) , and how to avoid your child’s triggers.
  • Why are inhaled steroid medications so important
  • Ask your doctor, asthma educator, or pharmacist
  • How are my child's medications used?
  • Ask your healthcare team
  • What do I need to know if my preschooler has asthma?
  • Find asthma education and support services
  • Ask your healthcare team for information especially for preschoolers with asthma.
  • Read "Little Asthma Plan" and other resources at www.ucalgary.ca/icancontrolasthma.
  • What is important to know about a teen with asthma?
  • Find asthma education and support services
  • What is important to know when an Aboriginal child has asthma?
  • Find asthma education and support services
  • Ask your healthcare team for information especially for Aboriginal children with asthma.
  • Go to www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/ab/onre/index.cfm to learn about indoor air quality in First Nations settings.
  • Watch also for road dust and smoke from fires as triggers.
  • What if English is not our first language?
  • Find translated tools or services
Managing Asthma
  • How will I know what to manage my child’s asthma?
  • Give your doctor a blank Asthma Action Plan.
  • What if my child is having symptoms at night, missing school, or sports, or activities?
  • See your doctor for follow-up asthma education.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist for a referral to an Asthma Educator in your area.
  • What if we are low-income family and/or have no health coverage for the medicine?
  • Ask your doctor for samples of medicine or tell your doctor that you can’t afford the medicine.
  • What if we don’t have a family doctor?
  • Find a doctor who is accepting patients.
  • Call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465) and ask for a list of doctors who are accepting new patients.
  • Go to www.cpsa.ab.ca to find doctors that are accepting patients.
  • How do we manage the anxiety and stress the asthma causes?
  • Ask your healthcare team for referral.
  • There are different types of specialists and services across Alberta that can help. Call Health Link Alberta 1-866-408-LINK (5465).
  • How do we monitor asthma control?
  • Use an asthma diary.
  • You can print the Asthma Diary or ask your healthcare team for one.
  • How have others coped with their asthma? Which famous people have asthma?
  • Do research
  • How do we connect with other families affected by asthma? How do we learn more about asthma?
  • Become a member of a supportive organization.
  • What if we don't have the Internet?
  • Ask for information and tools at your local health clinic or pharmacy.
  • Use the computer at your local library.
  • Get printed information from your healthcare team.
  • Call Health Link Alberta at 1-866-408-LINK (5465).
  • What can we expect from our healthcare team?
  • Share your needs
  • Don’t be afraid to speak up or advocate; tell your healthcare team what you need.
  • Follow-up by phone if you haven’t heard about referral dates or need more information.
Very bad symptoms:
  • breathing very fast
  • panting or gasping for breath
  • trouble speaking
  • blue-grey lips or fingernails
  • Call 911
Serious symptoms in young children/babies:
  • In-drawing -- skin at base of neck, between ribs or below breastbone pulls in with each breath
  • No energy to play or even move around
  • Babies may be refusing to eat or drink
  • Go to nearest Emergency Department

U of C Medicinealberta breathes