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Asthma Information

What is asthma?

  • Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects 22 million people in the USA, 6 million of whom are children.
  • With asthma, the airways are inflamed and hypersensitive to allergens and irritants.
  • During an asthma attack, airway muscles tighten, the tissue becomes inflamed, and mucous is produced; this all results in narrow airways.
  • Asthma attacks may be treatable with quick-relief inhalers, depending on the severity of the attack.

Who is at greatest risk of asthma?

  • Children who are exposed to cigarette smoke, viral infections, and certain allergens early in life.
  • African Americans are more likely to be hospitalized and to die from an asthma attack, versus Caucasians.
  • Those with a family history of asthma or allergies.
  • Children living in an environment with many allergens and irritants.

What causes asthma attacks?
 Illustration showing anormal airway and an airway in a person with asthma.

  • Allergens
  • Dust mites
  • Animal dander
  • Cockroaches
  • Pollen
  • Mold


  • Cigarette smoke, air pollution
  • Strong odors
  • Aerosols
  • Scented products
  • Cold air
  • Changes in weather
  • Strong emotional responses
  • Stress

Vacuum cleaning
Viral infections
Medicine: aspirin and beta-blockers
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

What are the sign/symptoms of an asthma attack?
Many times, an asthma attack comes on suddenly, therefore, known triggers should be avoided. 

  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Tightness of the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Faster or noisy breathing

What are some common treatments for asthma?

  • Assessment and Monitoring
  • Education
  • Control of Environmental Factors
  • Pharmacologic Therapy

How do I prevent and asthma attack?

  • Follow your action plan to manage your asthma
  • Take your medications as prescribed, even if no symptoms are present
  • Avoid known allergens and irritants that trigger asthma attacks.
  • Lower stress levels and depression
  • Follow proper asthma management

What are some of the things that I can do to help prevent an asthma attack?

  • Avoid the use of cleaning products that have strong or caustic odors.
  • Use hypoallergenic pillows, with a  dust mite proof cover.
  • Wash bed linens weekly, in hot water.
  • Use an impermeable mattress cover.
  • Remove all dust buildup and maintain a strict dust free environment.
  • Have hard surface flooring instead of carpet.
  • Regularly mop your floors, wipe window ledges and wash all surfaces with water and detergent.
  • Use a vacuum equipped with a  HEPA filter, 1-2 times each week.
  • Do not use perfumes, colognes, or room fresheners.
  • Avoid cooking foods with strong odors when the house cannot be aired out.
  • Check your child’s school to see if any triggers are present in their classrooms.
  • Do not house any pets or allow your animals to come into contact with pet dander.
  • Follow your daily action plan and use your peak flow meter.
  • Reduce the humidity of the home to below 60%



Links for Other Educational Materials on Asthma: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/tutorials/asthma/htm/lesson.htm
Tutorial on asthma for patients

www.pediatricasthmainfo.com : Site supported by AstraZeneca with information on a multitude of topics.

www.aaaai.org/patients/gallery/Default.asp?topic=childhoodasthma American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology site with patient information on Asthma.

http://www.aaaai.org/patients/gallery/ Patients and Consumers Center: Diseases 101. Some materials are also in Spanish.

http://www.asthmamoms.com/movies/video.htm Videos on asthma in English and Spanish.

http://www.asthmaeducationcenter.net/ Asthma Education Center- has a variety of downloads and videos on asthma.

:http://www.pediatricasthmainfo.com Site supported by AstraZeneca with information on a multitude of topics.

http://www.everydayhealth.com/asthma/index.aspx  Everyday Health information on Asthma. Information provided as only educational information.

http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&sub=16 Large list of articles on different aspects of Asthma.

http://www.asthma-education.com/content/ The Children’s Asthma Education Centre. The Children’s Asthma Education Centre (CAEC) is a program of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Heath at the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/asthma/what-is-asthma.php  Medical News Today- Respiratory/Asthma-both articles and videos available.

http://www.wvasthma.org/ West Virginia Asthma Education and Prevention Program.

Asthma Symptoms-Find Out About Treating Asthma & How To Treat the Symptoms.
Info on asthma.com

Get Facts About Asthma and Triggers http://www.asmanex.com//

Learn About Asthma Your Asthma www.advair.com/?a=160

Asthma Treatments for Reversible Obstructive Airway Disease and Asthma. www.proventilhfa.com/

Info on Pediatric Asthma www.pulmicortrespules.com

Discover what triggers asthma and how an HFA inhaler can help. www.Switch2HFA.com

National Jewish Medical and Research Center www.njc.org




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