2 Did you know?More than 5 million people have asthma in the UK, including 1.1 million children and young people.With the right medicine, support and advice, people with asthma can live a full and active life.
3 What is asthma? • Asthma is a condition that makes it hard to breathe • It affects the tiny airways that carry air in and out of the body• The airways become red and swollen.
4 What’s a trigger?When someone with asthma comes into contact with an asthma trigger, the airways become narrower and often produce a sticky mucus.This makes it hard to breathe.
5 Triggers Common triggers include: • Allergies to furry or feathery pets, pollen, cigarette smoke and house-dust mites• Colds or fluEveryone’s asthma is different and people may have several triggers.
6 Why do people get asthma? • Scientists are researching the exact reasons for asthma.• We know that you can’t catch it from other people.• People are more likely to have asthma if other family members have it too, or if they have an allergy like eczema or hayfever.
7 How can you tell someone has asthma? • They cough, particularly at night or after exercise• They have tight feelings in the chest• They are often short of breath – even when they are resting• They may wheeze when breathingIf you are having difficulty with your breathing, you should go to see your doctor who will be able to tell you whether you have asthma.
8 Everybody’s asthma is different Some people have very mild asthma and hardly ever get any symptoms.Others may have more severe asthma, which means they have to take time off school or even go to hospital.
9 What treatments are there for asthma? A reliever inhaler is usually blue. It helps to quickly relax the muscles around the airways. People with asthma should use this when they have asthma symptoms (such as coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest or shortness of breath).A preventer inhaler is usually brown, red or orange. It works over a longer period of time to soothe and calm swelling in the airways.People with asthma should use this regularly, even when feeling well.
10 What should someone do if they have asthma? • The doctor or asthma nurse will tell them about the different medicines to help them breathe more easily• They should follow this advice!
11 Take control of asthmaSomeone with asthma should remember these four steps:• Get and take the right treatment• Know what their triggers are – and avoid them where possible• Recognise when they feel their asthma is getting out of control and seek help• Know what to do if they have an asthma attack