Asthma

[as-ma]

Young woman using an inhaler

Inhale. Exhale. We do it every day, but some days it’s harder if you have asthma. Both kids and adults can go through repeated bouts of wheezing, trouble breathing, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. If you have asthma, you have it all the time, but will only have attacks when something bothers your lungs. Certain things can trigger an asthma attack like smoke from cigarettes, smog and air pollution, mold, dust mites, and even cockroaches! Anyone with asthma has it their entire life. Outgrowing asthma is a myth.

Quiz

Key Facts

  • In all cases there is no cure.
  • If someone in your immediate family has asthma, you are also more likely to have it.
  • In the U.S., an estimated 24.7 million people have asthma.
  • Child prevalence is 7.5% while adult prevalence is 7.7%.

Media

Smog over a city

Pollution

Pollution caused by industrial emissions and automobile exhaust can cause an asthma attack.

Boy with oxygen mask

Environmental Triggers

To help control asthma, know the warning signs of an attack, stay away from asthma triggers, and follow your health care provider's advice.

Inhaler

Inhalers

Take your medicine exactly as your medical professional tells you to do.

Two boys playing baseball

Take Your Medicine

Remember to take your medicine. You'll feel better and be able to do lots of things, such as swimming, camping, and playing baseball.

Cigarette in ashtray

Stop Smoking

Parents, friends, and relatives of children with asthma should try to stop smoking and should never smoke around a person (secondhand smoke) with asthma.

Silhouette of inhaler

Avoid Triggers

If you have asthma, dust mites may be a trigger for an attack. Use mattress covers and pillowcase covers to make a barrier between dust mites and yourself.

Prevention Tips

  • All people with asthma should have a written asthma action plan.
  • Know the warning signs of an asthma attack.
  • Learn what your asthma triggers are and avoid them.
  • Take your medicine exactly as your medical professional tells you to do.

More at CDC.gov

Page last reviewed: April 27, 2017