Asthma is a chronic disease that affects your airways. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen. That makes them very sensitive, and they may react strongly to things that you are allergic to or find irritating. When your airways react, they get narrower and your lungs get less air.
Symptoms of asthma include
- Coughing, especially early in the morning or at night
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
Not all people who have asthma have these symptoms. Having these symptoms doesn’t always mean that you have asthma. Your doctor will diagnose asthma based on lung function tests, your medical history, and a physical exam. You may also have allergy tests.
When your asthma symptoms become worse than usual, it’s called an asthma attack. Severe asthma attacks may require emergency care, and they can be fatal.
Asthma is treated with two kinds of medicines: quick-relief medicines to stop asthma symptoms and long-term control medicines to prevent symptoms.
If you encounter a person having an asthma attack, ask if the person has a rescue inhaler. If so, help the person utilize the inhaler. Most asthma attacks will subside in time. Instruct the person to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. The person should also try to breathe out more than in. Take short breaths in, and longer breaths out.
We also offer a free certificate of completion. To receive the certificate you must pass a 50-question test with a score of 70 or higher. Check our Basic First Aid Certificate of Completion page for more information.