Controlling Asthma

What is asthma?

Asthma is an ongoing disease of the airways in the lungs. The airways get inflamed and become swollen and narrow when exposed to triggers like smoke, pollen, or strong odors over time. As a result it’s hard to breathe. Asthma symptoms often go unnoticed because they may seem minor. But even mild symptoms can quickly lead to life-threatening asthma flare-ups.

What are the symptoms?

See your Doctor if you or your child has:

  • Frequent coughing that does not go away
  • Wheezing (breathing that sounds like whistling)
  • Coughing or wheezing that disturbs your sleep
  • A tight feeling in the chest
  • Problems breathing or shortness of breath
  • Problems breathing when around smoke, perfumes, strong smells or using cleaning supplies.

How to control your asthma

  • Take your medicines as your Doctor tells you.
  • Make sure you know what medicines you have and how to use them. Some medicines prevent symptoms, other medicines stop an asthma flare-up.
  • Check your airways using a peak flow meter. The meter measures how fast you can push air out of your lungs. If you attend the Family Asthma Program, we’ll show you how to use a peak flow meter.
  • Don’t allow smoking in your home.  If you or someone in your family needs help quitting, sign up for the Stop Smoking Program
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom and off furniture.
  • Dust with a damp cloth weekly.
  • Get rid of mold by cleaning bathrooms, kitchens, and basements regularly.
  • Keep windows closed, especially on windy days or during smoggy weather.
  • Get rid of cockroaches and take the trash out regularly.
  • Learn more about asthma by joining the Family Asthma Program - it's free for IEHP Members.
  • View the Controlling Asthma brochure in PDF.

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