Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. In those susceptible to asthma, this inflammation causes the airways to spasm and swells periodically so that the airways narrow. Obstruction to air flow either resolves spontaneously or responds to a wide range of treatments, but continuing inflammation makes the airways hyper-responsive.
- Exposure to wood smoke.
- Breathing polluted air.
- Inhaling other respiratory irritants such as perfumes or cleaning products.
- Exposure to airway irritants at the workplace.
- Breathing in allergy-causing substances (allergens) such as molds, dust, or animal dander.
- An upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, flu, sinusitis, or bronchitis.
- Exposure to cold, dry weather.
- Emotional excitement or stress.
- Genetic predisposition: a parent, brother, or sister also has asthma.
- Chest tightness.
- Coughing and difficulty speaking.
- Wheezing is a musical, whistling, or hissing sound with breathing.
- Wheezes are most often heard during exhalation, but they can occur during breathing in (inhaling).
Keep taking your asthma medications after you are discharged. This is extremely important. Although the symptoms of an acute asthma attack go away after appropriate treatment, asthma itself never goes away. If your asthma attacks are triggered by an allergic reaction, avoid your triggers as much as possible.