Wheeze and your child

8) What if my child has a severe attack of wheezing?


  • You may notice your child’s breathing becomes a real effort. Have a look to see if their chest, tummy or neck muscles are pulling in when they take a breath.
    • Are they breathing much faster than normal?
    • Are they struggling to breathe?
    • Are they no better after the 4 puffs of their reliever (blue) medicine?
  • If so they need an emergency dose of the reliever inhaler. This can be given as 10 puffs through the spacer device following the inhaler technique.
  • This is an emergency dose of medicine and if you need to give it again within 4 hours or give it twice within 24 hours at home, you need to seek medical advice.
  • If you have any concerns about your child’s breathing call 999 for an ambulance.
  • When you call 999 you will need to give the operator details of your child’s name, address and date of birth. If you can tell them exactly what medication and how much you have given them this is really useful information. They can give you instructions while you are on the phone call and let you know when the ambulance or paramedic will arrive.


If your child cannot talk, is gasping for breath, has colour change or if you are worried and unsure you should phone 999 for an ambulance and continue to give 1 puff of the blue inhaler every minute until help arrives.