Andrea Jensen, AE-C, CHES, discusses what you need to know to recognize when your child should go to the emergency department — and what to do when you get there.
  • Stay on top of your or your child’s allergies and make sure to keep symptoms under control — even if it means another trip to the doctor.
  • Watch for and recognize symptoms of an asthma flare: shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest tightness,  lips or fingernails turning blue.
  • Watch for retraction, a sign of difficulty breathing and indicator of an asthma flare. Retraction occurs when “all the accessory muscles are pulling in and out with every breath.” There’s also retraction along the collarbone.
  • Develop an Asthma Action Plan with your doctor; it should tell you when you need to go to the hospital.
  • When at the hospital or ER, ask for you or your child to be seen right away due to difficulty breathing.
  • Asthma hospitalizations are scary, but you and/or your child will get through it.