Today is World Asthma Day!

Posted on May 3, 2011



Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen. That makes them very sensitive, and they may react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. This can cause wheezing, coughing, chest tightness and trouble breathing, especially early in the morning or at night.


The number of people with asthma continues to increase. In 2009 about 1 in 12 people had asthma, this increased from the 1 in 14 who had asthma in 2001. Black children have seen a 50% increase in asthma rates since 2001. This trend shows a need to educate more people on how to control their asthma.


If you or someone you know has asthma follow these three steps to control your symptoms and reduce your risk of having an asthma attack:


Avoid Triggers
There are certain things that can make your asthma worse. Reducing your exposure is very important for controlling your asthma. Triggers include:

  • Air pollution

  • Dust

  • Mold

  • Pollen

  • Tobacco smoke

  • Pet dander

  • Exercise

  • Changes in temperature

  • Aspirin, or ibuprofen (brand names: Advil, Motrin, Nuprin)

  • Heartburn

  • Sinus infections

  • Strong emotions

  • Perfume

  • Spray-on deodorants

  • Viruses


Keep Track of your symptoms
This plays an important role in controlling the disease. Track your asthma by recording your symptoms, using a peak flow meter, and getting regular asthma checkups. Let your doctor know if your asthma is getting worse. Keeping track of your symptoms will help you find out what causes and worsens your asthma. By knowing your symptoms, you will be able to respond quicker to worsening asthma.


Take your medicine
Asthma is treated with two types of medicines: long-term control medicines and quick-relief medicines. You use a device called an inhaler to take many of these medicines. This device allows the medicine to go directly to your lungs. It is important that you know how to properly take your medicine to avoid an asthma attack. Note that your medicine may change over time or with worsening symptoms.


Also make sure you and your doctor have set up an asthma action plan.


Asthma requires long term care and control. For more information check out the National Library Of Medicine. You may also want to take a look at this interactive tutorial. It is also available in Spanish.


If you need help finding a doctor or want to learn more about asthma prevention and control call the Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050.