Asthma Management Handbook
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Table. Classification of asthma and indications for initiating preventer treatment in children aged 6–11







Severity of flare-ups

Average frequency of flare-ups and symptoms between flare-ups

Infrequent intermittent
Flare-ups every 6 weeks or less and no symptoms between flare-ups

Frequent intermittent
Flare-ups more than once every 6 weeks and no symptoms between flare-ups

Between flare-ups (any of):

  • Daytime symptoms‡ more than once per week
  • Night-time symptoms‡ more than twice per month
  • Symptoms restrict activity or sleep

Mild flare-ups

(almost always managed with salbutamol in community)


Not indicated





Moderate–severe flare-ups

(>2 in past year requiring ED or oral corticosteroids)







Life-threatening flare-ups

(require hospitalisation or PICU)








Preventer should be started as a treatment trial. Assess response after 4–6 weeks and review before prescribing long term.

ED: emergency department

Indicated: Prescribe preventer and monitor as a treatment trial. At follow-up, discontinue if ineffective

Not indicated: Preventer is unlikely to be beneficial

Consider prescribing preventer according to overall risk for severe flare-ups

‡ Symptoms between flare-ups. A flare-up is defined as a period of worsening asthma symptoms, from mild (e.g. symptoms that are just outside the normal range of variation for the child, documented when well) to severe (e.g. events that require urgent action by parents/carers and health professionals to prevent a serious outcome such as hospitalisation or death from asthma).

Last reviewed version 2.0

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