Is someone in your family sneezing, wheezing, or coughing? It might be asthma, allergies—or both. Keep reading to learn ways to control symptoms and breathe easier, indoors and out.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Asthma is a long-term condition that causes the airways inside your lungs to become inflamed. Asthma symptoms can be mild, but an asthma attack can be a medical emergency.
Common symptoms include:
- shortness of breath
- chest tightness
How is asthma diagnosed?
A doctor may use a few different ways of testing for asthma. These include:
- getting a detailed medical history
- completing a physical exam
- performing tests of your breathing
- taking a chest or sinus X-ray
How can I prevent an asthma episode?
If you can, avoid the things that trigger your asthma.
Common triggers are:
- furry pets
- cold air
- dirty air
Check the air quality for your community at AirNow.gov.
What is the treatment for asthma?
If your doctor diagnoses asthma, they will give you a plan for staying as healthy and active as possible. This plan might include exercise, medication, and regular doctor visits.
You should exercise most days of the week, even if you have asthma. Ask your doctor if walking, running, going to the gym, biking, or other types of activity are right for you.
There are several different medicines that help people to control asthma symptoms. Your doctor will let you know what is best for you, and show you the right way to use an inhaler or nebulizer.
Be sure to keep a quick relief “rescue” inhaler handy in case your asthma gets worse unexpectedly. When your medication supply is getting low, refill it right away so you don’t run out.
Get a flu shot and a COVID shot
If you have asthma, you can become sicker than other people if you get the flu or COVID-19. You might even have to go to the hospital.
Could it be allergies?
Do you get itchy, congested, wheezy, swollen, or otherwise sick from:
- or insect bites?
You are probably allergic to one or more of these items. When you have an allergy, your immune system reacts to a substance as if it is very harmful to you. The reaction is meant to protect you, but your body overreacts.
How do doctors diagnose allergies?
If you think you might have an allergy, talk to your doctor. They can help you find out what is causing your symptoms and how to breathe easier.
Your doctor will:
- review your medical history
- complete a physical exam
- test you for a variety of allergens
What are the treatments for allergies?
Sometimes you can manage your allergies by avoiding certain foods, cigarette smoke, animals, or other triggers. However, it may be impossible to avoid substances like pollen, mold, and dust.
Your doctor might prescribe medication to help you get through tough days. You might also get allergy shots for a few weeks or months.
Whether you have asthma, allergies, or both, remember: Talk to your doctor. There are many ways to feel better and stay healthy.
Living with asthma? We can help you Be in Control.
Enjoy free membership in Parkland Community Health Plan’s Be in Control program, with educational materials and resources to support the management of asthma and diabetes.
You can also earn paid rewards:
- $20 value when you remain enrolled for three months
- $50 value if you have asthma and remain enrolled for 6 months annually
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