Treating Asthma

What is asthma?

The breathing tubes in the lungs of people with asthma are swollen and get tight, and that makes it hard to breath.

Triggers that can make asthma worse 

  • Getting a cold or the flu - This is the most common trigger. Your child should always watch for problems with their asthma when they feel like they are coming down with a cold.

  • Running hard

  • Tobacco smoke

  • Strong smells (pleasant or unpleasant)

  • Air pollution

  • Things your child might be allergic to, including dust, mold, pollen, pets, insects, and rodent droppings

  • Getting very excited, angry, sad, or scared

  • Weather changes


Asthma medications

There are two types medicines that are used to treat asthma. Some are taken by breathing them in. Others are taken by mouth. 

 Rescue medicines work right away when your child needs them, but they don’t last very long. The most common rescue medicine is albuterol. Your child should take albuterol when they are having trouble breathing, but if your child needs to use it more than once in a while, they may need to take a controller medicine. Rescue medicines help the tightness, but not the swelling in the air passages.

 Controller medicines get rid of the swelling and congestion in the passageways of a child’s lungs, and help prevent asthma attacks, but they don’t help their breathing when a child is having an asthma attack. Controller medicines need to be taken every day, even when a child feels well, in order to work.

You can control your child’s asthma


Rescue medicine (albuterol) can be taken with a nebulizer or a metered-dose inhaler.  

Controller medicine can be taken with a nebulizer, a metered-dose inhaler, or a dry powder inhaler.



When your child uses a spacer or valved holding chamber with an inhaler, the medicine gets down into their lungs, where it needs to go to do the most good.   

When your child inhales medicine through a metered dose inhaler, most of it stays in the mouth or throat.

If your child uses a controller medicine that comes as a metered-dose inhaler, they should always take it with a chamber. Your child’s rescue medicine will also work better, if it is taken with the chamber!

Your child does not use a spacer/chamber with a nebulizer or dry powder inhaler.


Cigarette smoke (and any other smoke) irritates the lungs and makes asthma worse! People with asthma should stay away from smoke, and deserve a smoke-free environment.


• Nobody should smoke in the house they live in (even when they aren’t there).

• Nobody should smoke in the car they drive in (even when they aren’t there).

• Even the clothes of people who smoke can smell like smoke, and irritate the lungs, making it hard to breathe for people with asthma.

Talk to your Doctor

Many children with asthma can do better if they take an asthma controller medicine. Ask the doctor about controller medicines especially if your child has any of the following symptoms:

  1. Has asthma symptoms like coughing or wheezing more than 2 times a week

  2. Is waking at night with breathing problems more than once a week

  3. Has been to the emergency room with trouble breathing more than once in the last year

Four Steps to Asthma Management 

1. Get a correct diagnosis

2. Obtain medications

3. Take medications correctly and         consistently

4. Avoid asthma triggers