What Do You Know About Triple A?

When I picked my 12 year old up from school last night he was feeling very unwell.

His eyes were red and puffy, the skin around his mouth looked puffy and he couldn’t speak more than a couple of words at a time without struggling for breath.

It was terrifying.

We saw the doctor and he now has a regime of inhalers, steroid creams and antihistamine tablets to take in the hope that we can get in control of it all.

He has suffered with eczema since he was a few weeks old; he is allergic (yes allergic) to apples, among other things, and the hayfever season sends his eczema off the chart so he is very uncomfortable right now.

He has suffered with hayfever to a worsening degree for the past few years, but this year is seems to have hit particularly hard.

In addition, we now have the asthma to contend with.


It really, really scares me.

When I went into his room last night I could hear him wheezing in his sleep; should I have woken him up? I don’t know. When I suddenly woke up at 3am to hear him in the bathroom struggling to catch his breath, I felt guilty for the fact that I’d fallen asleep. What if he’d had an asthma attack and I hadn’t heard him?

I feel desperately un-equipped to deal with this. I feel out of my depth.

I went on the asthma uk website. A headline smacked me across the face ‘Three People A Day Die From Asthma‘ it told me.

However I’m really glad that I visited the website as I’ve ordered some free publications that will hopefully help me understand the condition a bit more. I’ve also ordered some things for my son: an asthma attack card, a personal action plan and an asthma calendar. These should help him feel a little bit more in control of it all and will also mean that he can carry the attack card in case he falls ill so that someone will know he has asthma.

Also on the website you can take the Triple A Test – it will help you determine how at risk you are of having an attack. The triple A stands for: Avoid Asthma Attacks.

I would like to praise Asthma UK for their site, I found it incredibly informative, clear and easy to use. I can see that I’ll be referring back to it often!

I found the following information, taken directly from the asthma uk website, particularly useful:

What to do in an asthma attack

attack cardThe following guidelines are suitable for both children and adults and are the recommended steps to follow in an asthma attack:

  1. Take one to two puffs of your reliever inhaler (usually blue), immediately.
  2. Sit down and try to take slow, steady breaths.
  3. If you do not start to feel better, take two puffs of your reliever inhaler (one puff at a time) every two minutes. You can take up to ten puffs.
  4. If you do not feel better after taking your inhaler as above, or if you are worried at any time, call 999.
  5. If an ambulance does not arrive within 10 minutes and you are still feeling unwell, repeat step 3.

If your symptoms improve and you do not need to call 999, you still need to see a doctor or asthma nurse within 24 hours. You can order a free, pocket size ‘What to do in an asthma attack’ card to carry with you here.

You’re having an asthma attack if any of the following happens:

  • Your reliever inhaler does not help.
  • Your symptoms are getting worse (cough, breathlessness, wheeze or tight chest).
  • You are too breathless to speak, eat or sleep.

Do not be afraid of causing a fuss, even at night. If you go to A&E (accident and emergency) or are admitted to hospital, take details of your medicines with you if possible.

After an emergency asthma attack:

  • Make an appointment with your doctor or asthma nurse for an asthma review, within 48 hours of your attack.
  • You will also need another review within one or two weeks to review your current asthma treatment and ensure your asthma is well controlled.

Do not ignore worsening symptoms

Asthma attacks are the result of gradual worsening of symptoms over a few days that you may not have noticed.

Needing to use your reliever inhaler more than three times a week may suggest that your asthma is not as well controlled as it could be.

Think about it – if your asthma symptoms are getting worse or you’re using your reliever inhaler more, don’t ignore it.

If your symptoms continue to get worse, make an urgent appointment to see your doctor or asthma nurse within 24 hours.