Common Questions About Asthma

1. Who gets asthma?
Anyone can get asthma - people of all ethnic groups, male and female, young and old, city dwellers and rural dwellers. In the United States, more than 20 million people have asthma. Asthma is common among children and teens - about 3 students in an average classroom of 30 - have asthma. While no one knows for sure why some people develop asthma and others don't, we do know that it is a combination of your family history and your environment. There is no cure for asthma. Once you have asthma, you will have the disease for the rest of your life. But with proper care, you can lead a healthy, productive, fully active life.

2. What is an asthma symptom, episode, or attack?
Asthma is a disease in your body's airways, which are the paths that carry air to your lungs. Asthma symptoms may include coughing, chest tightness, wheezing, and trouble breathing. When people have only some coughing, wheezing, or trouble breathing, they call it having asthma symptoms, an asthma episode, or an asthma exacerbation. When asthma symptoms keep getting worse or are suddenly very severe, it is an asthma attack.

During an asthma episode or attack, the sides of the airways in your lungs swell, and the airways shrink. Less air gets in and out of your lungs, and mucus clogs up the airways even more. Severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening.

3. How does mold affect asthma?
Molds can trigger asthma episodes in sensitive individuals with asthma. People with asthma should avoid contact with exposure to molds.

Molds are microscopic fungi that live on plant and animal matter. Molds can be found almost anywhere, and grow best in damp places such as kitchens, bathrooms, and basements.

4. What are some common asthma triggers?
Triggers are things that can cause asthma symptoms, an episode or attack or make asthma worse. People with asthma may have just one trigger, or they may find that several things act as triggers.

Common asthma triggers are:

  • Secondhand (cigarette) Smoke
  • Cockroaches and Other Pests
  • Pets and Dust
  • Molds
  • Outdoor Air Pollution
  • Cold viruses
  • Running, Playing, and Exercise

Be sure to work with your doctor to identify your - or your child's triggers. Then take steps to control these triggers.

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