Asthma: What you need to know
What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease that causes the airways of the lungs to swell which causes difficulty in breathing. Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness.
What is an Asthma Action Plan?
An Asthma Action Plan is a written document that is created by health professionals in conjunction with patients and their families to manage asthma attacks. Plans include daily controller medications and their dosage, quick relief medications, what to do when asthma symptoms get worse, when to call the doctor, and what to do in an emergency. Each patient’s plan is different and should be updated in consultation with your doctor every six months.
What causes an asthma attack?
Triggers cause asthma attacks, but in some instances there is no apparent reason for an asthma attack. Some common asthma triggers are furry pets, dust mites, household pests, cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke, and mold.
Furry pets. Keep pets out of the bedroom and off the furniture.
Dust mites. Tiny bugs that are too small to see, live in sheets, blankets, pillows, carpets and stuffed toys. Always wash bedding in hot water, use dust proof covers on pillows and mattresses, vacuum carpets and furniture every week, and buy stuffed toys that can be washed in the washing machine.
Cockroaches and other pests. Keep counters, sinks, tables, and floors clean and clutter-free. Store food in airtight containers. Use roach baits or traps instead of sprays. Always cover trash cans.
Mold. Mold grows in damp places. If you see mold, clean the area with soap and water and let the surface dry completely. Fix water leaks. Use exhaust fans to keep the bathroom and kitchen dry.
Cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke. Don’t smoke when you are with your children. If you smoke—until you can quit, don’t smoke in your home.
- All NYC Health + Hospitals facilities offer treatment for asthma. Find an NYC Health + Hospitals health care system health center near you. You can find specialized asthma care for children at our Child Health Centers.