Genesee County Health Department
Better Life Through Better Health
What's All the Fuss About Asthma?
Asthma affects nearly 12 million people in the United States. It is the
number one reason why children miss school, and one of the leading causes
of childhood hospitalizations. Asthma makes it hard to get air in and out
of the lungs, making it hard to breathe.
Symptoms of asthma include shortness of breath, wheezing, tightness or
discomfort in the chest, and a frequent cough. Not everyone with asthma
wheezes and not every wheeze means it's
asthma. Cough alone may be the only symptom.
Many things trigger asthma attacks including colds, exertion and
exercise, smoke, odors, and changes in the weather. Allergies to flakes of
skin of house pets can also cause an attack.
It is important to see your doctor. Describe your symptoms. Discuss
your allergies, and triggering factors. Make sure you understand which
medications to take, when to take them, and how to take them. Take your
medications as prescribed by your doctor. Although asthma cannot be cured,
it can be controlled.
Attacks can be prevented. Avoid exposure to things that cause attacks.
Know when you need to get help immediately. If your symptoms do not get
better with medicine, your breathing continues to get worse after
treatment, your fingernails or lips turn gray or blue, or it becomes
difficult to walk or talk, or if you have difficulty breathing, call your
doctor or go to your emergency room right away.
See your doctor now, and discuss ways to manage your asthma. Having
asthma does not mean being sick a lot. With proper management, people with
asthma can live a full and active life.