Asthma is a common chronic disease involving the respiratory system in which the airways occasionally constrict, become inflamed, and are lined with excessive amounts of mucus, often in response to one or more triggers.

An asthmatic episode may occur when individuals are exposed to environmental stimulant such as an allergen, tobacco smoke, cold or warm air, perfume, pet dander, moist air, exercise or exertion, or emotional stress. When an asthma attack happens, the muscles that encircle the airway tighten up and the tissues lining the airways swell. As a result, the airway narrows causing symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. These symptoms range from mild to life threatening, but can be controlled with a combination of drugs and environmental changes.

Your health care provider will work out a plan for use of medications and a peak flow meter when you have symptoms. A treatment plan should provide good airflow and maximum freedom from symptoms during all activities, including exercise and while sleeping.

Helpful Tips:

  • Medications may be adjusted before exercise and a warm up and cool down are essential components for asthmatic patients.
  • Be sure to cover your mouth and nose during cold weather. 
  • Limit or avoid exposure to triggers by reducing the quantity of pollen, dust, smoke or animal dander.
  • Practice stress relaxation techniques
  • Wash your hands especially before eating or touching your face to reduce risk of catching colds and flu


Center for Disease Control and Prevention