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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic lung condition that causes inflammation, increased mucus, and muscle tightening causing the airways to narrow, and as a result, air can’t move through the lungs as well as it should, making it difficult to breathe. Everyone’s lungs are sensitive to different things; lungs in asthmatic people are, in simple terms, more sensitive.

Examples of common allergen triggers include: grass, pollen, dust mites and molds

Examples of triggers that are ingested rather than inhaled include: anti-inflammatory medications, nuts, shrimp, and preservatives found in some food products.

Attacks can also be triggered by non-allergic irritants, such as: laughing hard, crying, smog and smoke, or strong smells.

Symptoms of Asthma

Typical asthma symptoms include: chest tightness, coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing. Wheezing is the best-known asthma symptom, but not everyone with asthma wheezes.

If you or someone else can’t breathe and normal medication isn’t working, call 911. Any one of the symptoms listed is a good reason to see your doctor.

Treatment for Asthma

The goal of treatment is to keep you as symptom-free as possible. This goal can be reached by most asthmatics. There are four main things you can do to manage your asthma: Avoid triggers, ask your doctor for a written “asthma action plan,” if recommended by your doctor, use “preventer,” also called “controller” medications, and alleviate symptoms using “rescue” medications.

Medications don’t provide fast relief, but will help prevent future symptoms. If your doctor has given you a preventive medication to use, follow the instructions carefully. If used as suggested, it should control the swelling in your airways and reduce your symptoms over the long term. Inhalers must be used properly to get the right amount of medication into your lungs. Ask your doctor or health care professional to see if you’re using your inhaler properly.

For more information, talk to your local Pharmasave Valleyview pharmacist.