Frequently Asked Questions About Asthma
Is asthma contagious?
No, asthma is not a contagious disease -- no one can "catch" it from you.
What are the most common causes of asthma attacks?
Allergies to things like dust mites or pet dander, infections like colds and flu, and irritants like smoke or breathing cold air may cause asthma symptoms. Many people have asthma after exercise like running or playing hard. Things that bother one person's airways may not bother another person.
Are asthma medicines addictive?
No, the medicines used for asthma are not addictive. Be sure to take your medicines as directed and let your Primary Care Practitioner/Family Practitioner know if you are having trouble taking your medicines.
Do asthma medicines lose their effect if they are taken for a long time?
No, your asthma medicine will not become less effective over time. Your Primary Care Practitioner/Family Practitioner may adjust or change your medicines if your asthma symptoms change over time.
Are inhaled steroids dangerous?
The inhaled steroid medicines used to treat asthma are safe and effective. It is important to take your steroid medicine exactly as prescribed by your Primary Care Practitioner/Family Practitioner. The steroids used for asthma are NOT the same drugs as the unsafe steroids some athletes take to build muscle.
What can I do if exercise causes my asthma symptoms?
Talk to your Primary Care Practitioner/Family Practitioner about how to prevent asthma caused by exercise. Many people take medication before exercising to avoid asthma symptoms. You can also learn how to pace yourself if you seem to be having symptoms. If your asthma is under control, you should be able to take part in any activity you choose. Many Olympic athletes have asthma.
Will allergy shots help my asthma?
You will need to have allergy tests first. Allergy shots can help with certain allergies like pollen and grasses. You should also find out what you can do to avoid the things that you are allergic to.
My child gets a lot of chest colds with coughing. Could he have asthma?
Talk to your child's Primary Care Practitioner/Family Practitioner about the colds and coughing. Some children who get a lot of colds with coughing, especially at night, have asthma and should be treated.
What is a peak flow meter?
A peak flow meter is a device you can easily use at home to check how open your airways are. It can help you keep track of how well your asthma is controlled. You use it by taking a deep breath and blowing hard into a plastic piece that goes in your mouth. Then, write down the resulting number that appears on the meter. Peak flow meters are most helpful for people with moderate or severe asthma. Your Primary Care Practitioner/Family Practitioner may ask you to use a peak flow meter regularly and keep track of the numbers.
Do babies who have wheezing when they have a cold ever "outgrow" their asthma?
Many children who have wheezing as a baby do not go on to have asthma as they get older. But other children continue to have asthma throughout their childhood. Children with allergies or a family history of asthma are more likely to continue having asthma as they get older.