Content Reviewers:Rishi Desai, MD, MPH
This can be very frustrating and scary. For kids, it can make them miss a lot of school.
But - if you know what to do, asthma can be controlled.
With the help of parents, teachers, nurses, and doctors, the good news is that children with asthma can live healthy, active lives.
They can go to school, play sports, play the trumpet--or whatever they love to do!
When you breathe, air moves from your nose or mouth into your lungs by passing through small tubes, called airways.
People with asthma have trouble breathing because these airways get narrower, making it hard for air to move in and out.
Let’s take a closer look at the airways inside the lungs.
The muscles around the airways also get irritated and squeeze, making them even more narrow.
With-- asthma, the irritation also leads to more mucus, which can clog the airways.
Breathing with asthma can feel like breathing through a thin straw - it is hard to move air in and out, and can be very tiring.
Asthma is different for everyone.
The most common symptoms are coughing, chest tightness, getting tired easily, and wheezing.
Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound that comes from the air trying to get in and out of the lungs through narrow airways.
In some children, cough may be the only symptom, and may increase at night or while napping, making it hard to sleep.
Some people with asthma have symptoms almost every day.
Others have symptoms once every few months.
Sometimes, asthma symptoms can suddenly get worse.
This is called an asthma attack.
Severe asthma attacks are dangerous, require medicine, and may require going to the hospital!
Talk to your doctor, so you know what to do.
Everyone has different triggers, but a common one is cigarette smoke.
Other causes inside the house can be things like dust, pets, cockroaches, mold, strong perfumes, and cleaning products.
Triggers outside the house can be things like cold air, pollen, grass, and air pollution.
Knowing your triggers and staying away from them can help you control your asthma.
Make sure that nobody in the home smokes, and try to keep your home free of cockroaches and mold.
On heavy air pollution days keep children with asthma indoors, when possible.
Avoid standing too close to cars or buses when their engines are running.