Asthma

Asthma is a disease that affects the lungs and can affect both adults and children. There is no cure for asthma, but it can be controlled.

The symptoms of asthma are shortness of breath, coughing, chest tightness and wheezing. During an asthma attack, the lungs become swollen, so that the amount of air that is able to go in or out of the lungs is reduced. Mucus is produced, clogging the lungs and making breathing more difficult. An asthma attack is caused by an Asthma Trigger, which is something that bothers or irritates the lungs. Triggers include pets, mold, pollen, dust mites, cockroaches, cigarette smoke, colds, flu and cold weather.

If your child starts coughing after running or when he or she is crying, tell your doctor. These could be symptoms of asthma. Some children have asthma when they are young, but as they get older, their asthma disappears. If you have school-age children with asthma, please tell the school. Request a Medication Form and give them a copy of the Asthma Action Plan. Then, if your child has an asthma attack while in school, the teacher or school nurse will know what to do to help your child.

What is an Asthma Action Plan?

An asthma action plain is a document prepared by the doctor, patient and caregiver together. It is a tool to manage and monitor asthma flare-ups. It should be updated every six months and should be part of your medical record. Copies of it should be provided to family, school or other contacts that need to be familiar with it.

To control asthma and live a healthy life, follow these simple rules:

  1. Ask your doctor which medicine is best for you and take it as instructed. Quick-relief asthma medicines control asthma symptoms. Long-term medicine reduces the number of asthma attacks.
  2. Always have your medicine with you.
  3. Know your triggers and avoid them.
  4. Know when and how to treat your asthma symptoms.
  5. Create an Asthma Action Plan.
  6. Use a Peak Flow Meter. (How to Use a Peak Flow Meter)

Helpful resources:
Living With Asthma
Asthma Action Plan (English / Español)
MDI and Spacer
Asthma Education - Group Session Info (EnglishEspañol)
Asthma Self Management - Adult (EnglishEspañol)

Helpful Links:
NYC Health + Hospitals - Asthma Services
NYS Department of Health - Asthma