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Asthma
What is asthma?

Asthma is a disease of the lungs. The lungs have many airways that are like tubes. They carry air into the lungs. Sometimes, certain things like dust, plants, and exercise make the airways become smaller. This makes it hard to breathe.

Normal airway on left; constricted airway on right
If you have asthma you may feel:
  • Tight chest
  • Difficulty breathing
  • coughing
  • anxious

This makes it hard to breath. Small airways can make you cough. Sometimes, you can wake up in the morning or night and cough.

What can cause asthma?

image - Title: Causes of Asthma. Graphic of upper body, airway and lungs. Text around perimeter of graphic says Smoking, dust, animals, feathers, certain foods, molds, pollen

Some asthma causes are:

  • Getting sick
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Pets
  • Dust
  • Too much exercise
  • Plants (pollen)
  • Cold weather
  • Stress
    What is an inhaler?

    An inhaler helps medicine go into the airways. As you squeeze the inhaler, you breathe in the medicine. There are different types of inhalers:

    Image - cartoon drawing of blue inhaler with white and red sneakers

  • Preventers (brown/red/orange/yellow) – These stop your airways from getting smaller. Use every day, even if you feel healthy.
  • Relievers (blue) – used to stop asthma fast. They make the airways larger so it is easy to breathe.
  • Asthma control (light blue/green) – keeps airways open for 12 hours. Take every day and use with preventer medicine.
  • Combinations (red/purple)- has both preventer and asthma control in one inhaler. Use every day.
    How do I control my asthma?

    When you have asthma, your lungs are weak. You can stop asthma. Medicine is the best way to stop asthma. There are other things you can do to stay healthy.

    How to stop asthma

    Stay away from causes of asthma. Stay away from smoke, pets, plants, dust, and cold weather. Exercise is good for asthma, but too much exercise can be bad. If exercise makes you have asthma, you can use your blue inhaler to stop asthma. Use it before you exercise.

    Be Ready

    Asthma will not go away. But you can stop it.
    Use your “reliever” medicine when asthma comes to stop it quickly.
    If you use your reliever more than 3 times a week, ask doctor about changing your “preventer” medicine.

    Get an asthma plan

    Everyone must know what to do in an emergency. A written plan will help you know when your asthma is getting bad. The plan will teach you what to do. Ask your doctor for help.

    Who can help me with my asthma?

    There are many doctors and nurses in your community who can help.

Resources

Section created by Tom Wade 2017.5