This website uses cookies. By continuing you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

Asthma and Teens

The rebelliousness and need for independence that comes with adolescence can be especially difficult for teens with asthma and their families. Children who have been responsibly managing their asthma for years may start to have more problems with symptoms. This could be caused by hormonal changes, or by attitude and behavioral changes.

Here are a few things that might be causing problems for your teen:

  • Needing to be "normal": Teens are super sensitive about things they think makes them different from their friends. They may feel "uncool" taking medicine. They may be nervous about having an asthma episode in public. Or they may be encountering asthma triggers at a friend's house that they are uncomfortable dealing with. You may be able to help by encouraging your teen to talk about these feelings. Keep the lines of communication open between you, the doctor and your teen.
  • Smoking: Smoking and secondhand smoke can cause sudden and severe asthma flare-ups. If your child starts to smoke or is spending time with smokers, they are going to have a lot of trouble keeping their asthma under control. The American Lung Association Not On Tobacco program can help 14- to 19-year-old smokers end their nicotine addictions. Teen smokers also can get free telephone counseling through the Lung HelpLine.
  • Playing sports: Like everyone who has asthma, teens should be able to live healthy, active lives, including playing sports if they choose. Check in with the pediatrician to make sure your child's Asthma Action Plan is up to date, and make sure the coach knows your child has asthma and has a copy of the plan.

    Reviewed and approved by the American Lung Association Scientific and Medical Editorial Review Panel. Last reviewed May 23, 2018.

    Page Last Updated: May 24, 2018

    Red button with telephone
    Ask An Expert

    Questions about your lung health? Need help finding healthcare? Call 1-800-LUNGUSA.

    Get help
    Red button of two hand prints
    We need your generous support

    Make a difference by delivering research, education and advocacy to those impacted by lung disease.

    Button of turquoise LUNG FORCE swirl
    What is LUNG FORCE?

    LUNG FORCE unites women and their loved ones across the country to stand together in the fight against lung cancer.

    Get involved
    Join the fight for healthy lungs and healthy air.
    Donate Now.