What is asthma?
People with asthma have over-sensitive airways that react to certain triggers. They become inflamed and narrow making it hard to breathe.
What are the symptoms?
Asthma causes wheezing, cough, a feeling of chest tightness and shortness of breath. The symptoms are often worse in the mornings and evenings than in the middle of the day. Symptoms aren't there all the time and some people can go weeks or months without feeling unwell at all.
Asthma can be mild, barely interfering with day to day life or severe enough to be life-threatening.
What triggers should I avoid?
We don't understand exactly why some people get asthma and others don't. It seems to run in families to but there isn't a clear pattern. We do know the triggers that can make it worse though. The most common triggers are:
1. I get wheezy when I do exercise - should I give up?
No! Exercise - especially in cold air can make asthma symptoms worse, but it's more important to stay active. If walking or running outside you should use a scarf over your mouth and nose to warm the air. You should also take an extra puff of your quick-acting inhaler about 10 minutes before any planned exercise.
2. My son has asthma, he's 7, will he grow out of it?
Asthma is more common in children than adults. Many children "grow out" of asthma as they get older but for others it persists throughout their life.
If someone is going to grow out of asthma this will usually happen by the age of 15. If they continue to have symptoms beyond this it is more likely to stay with them.