Caring For Asthma After a Hospital Stay

Before Leaving The Hospital

  • Your child’s asthma symptoms will have improved.
  • Your child should not need Reliever medicine more often than every 3 - 4 hours.
  • You should receive a prescription for your child’s asthma medicines if you don’t have enough at home.
  • The asthma medicines should be reviewed with you to make sure you know when and how to use them.
  • A follow-up visit with the doctor should occur within seven days of going home. Arrange this appointment as soon as possible.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse where to go for asthma education in your area, or call your local Lung Association.


Asthma Medicines After A Hospital Visit

Oral steroid medicine:

  • decreases swelling and mucus inside the airways of the lungs
  • begins to work within a few hours
  • is usually taken for 5 - 7 days

Controller (Preventer) medicine:

  • takes days to weeks to decrease the swelling and mucus inside the airways
  • may be started or increased during an asthma attack
  • Do not stop without talking to your doctor. Use every day.

Reliever medicine:

  • acts quickly to relax the muscles around the outside of the airways and helps reduce cough, wheeze, shortness of breath, or chest tightness
  • may be ordered regularly for a few days after discharge or only as needed for relief of symptoms
  • is usually blue in color (salbutamol, Ventolin®, Airomir™, Bricanyl®, Oxeze®)
  • may be an inhaler with a red bottom (Symbicort®), containing Reliever and Controller medicine

Note: If your child needs Reliever medicine every 4 hours for more than two days after discharge, call your doctor or nurse.


When to Return to the Hospital?

  • If your child needs Reliever medicine in less than 3 hours
  • Reliever medicine does not begin to improve breathing within 10 minutes



How Can You Prevent Future Hospital Visits For Asthma?

1. Know your child’s asthma triggers. Remove or avoid them whenever possible.

2. Know your child’s asthma medicines, and how and when to use them.

3. Recognize early warning signs that asthma is getting worse:

  • getting a cold
  • needing Reliever medicine more than 3 times a week for asthma symptoms
  • waking at night due to asthma
  • not being able to do normal activities, or missing school

4. Have your doctor complete an Asthma Action Plan. Know how to use it.

5. See your doctor at least twice a year to review your Asthma Action Plan .


The Asthma Action Plan

Be sure to work with your child’s doctor to complete a new written Asthma Action Plan at your follow-up appointment.