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Clinical Services at Rush Asthma FAQs

Here are a few examples of how asthma can affect people:

"I feel like I just can't get enough air in, like I can't fill my lungs."

"Having asthma symptoms is horrible. I feel anxious because I can't breathe and not sure whether or not I need to go to the ER."

"I haven't been able to play the sports I used to because I get too tired too fast. I have missed a lot of school days too."

"I can't stop coughing, especially at night or when I'm outside."

"Sometimes I hear my 2-year-old son wheezing out loud, he gets really fussy and puffs up under his eyes."

What is asthma?
What causes an asthma attack?
What happens in the lungs?
Can asthma be cured?
What are the different types of asthma?
What are common asthma symptoms?
What are some signs that my asthma maybe worsening?
How long will my appointment take?
What is the difference between a maintenance (control) inhaler and a rescue (quick relief) inhaler?
How do I know when my inhaler is empty?
When I feel better is it OK to stop taking my medications?
Can people with asthma exercise?
Is asthma hereditary?
How will my child's needs be met at school?
What are some of the emotional/social side effects?
 

What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory disease of the airways.

What causes an asthma attack?
An asthma attack is when your airways become narrow, inflamed, and you are unable to breathe in or out. Asthma attacks can be very frightening and rescue (quick relief) inhalers are needed to open up your airways.

What happens in the lungs?
During an asthma attack the airways of the lungs become constricted. The muscle bands of the bronchioli tighten, and increase in inflammation causes airways to swell and produce excess mucus.

Can asthma be cured?
Asthma is a complex condition that unfortunately cannot be cured. But the Asthma Center can empower and teach you to gain control over your asthma.

What are the different types of asthma?
Allergen-triggered, exercise-induced, cough-variant asthma, occupational asthma and nocturnal asthma.

What are common asthma symptoms?
Shortness of breath, coughing, night coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, chest pain and/or pressure.

What are some signs that my asthma maybe worsening?
An increase in severity of your asthma symptoms, a drop in your peak flow readings, your asthma keeping you up at night, and an increasing need to use controller medications.

How long will my appointment take?
Plan to be at the Asthma Center for approximately three hours for both your initial and follow-up visit.

What is the difference between a maintenance (control) inhaler and a rescue (quick relief) inhaler?
Controllers are used every day to prevent asthma symptoms before they start. Rescue (quick relief) inhalers are used only when you feel the symptoms of an asthma attack.

How do I know when my inhaler is empty?
Some inhalers may have built-in "counting" mechanisms to tell you "what puff you're on" and some do not. If not, the best way to ensure your inhaler still has medicine in it is to count the number of puffs you use and to stop using your medication when you've reached the maximum doses. For more, information, please contact our Asthma Center team.

When I feel better, is it OK to stop taking my medications?
No. Controllers are meant to be used every day to control your asthma. Even if you feel better it does not mean you are asthma free. It is important to continue with your asthma medication unless specified by your physician.

Can people with asthma exercise?
Yes, individuals with asthma can exercise. With proper management of your asthma, you can do any normal activity, including exercise.Working with your doctor, you can create a safe workout routine.

Is asthma hereditary?
Though people whose parents have asthma are more likely to develop asthma, there is not a clear genetic link, as of yet. Other factors such as environment and infection can contribute to an asthma diagnosis.

How will my child's needs be met at school?
Our nurse coordinator will work with you to devise a plan for the school nurse or teachers to follow when your child is having asthma symptoms.

What are some of the emotional/social side effects?
Asthma can result in lost school and work days. It can be emotionally draining on both the patient and caregiver. 







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