Popular Asthma Myths

1. Airways inside the lungs are normal between asthma attacks.

We used to believe this was true. However, doctors and scientists have discovered that the airways in people with asthma are always inflamed and sensitive, even when there are no symptoms present. For those with persistent asthma, controller medicines, such as inhaled corticosteroids are used to control this inflammation. Those with mild asthma may never use controller medications or use them only during times that they have asthma symptoms.

2. You can’t have asthma unless you wheeze.

Wheezing is only one symptom of asthma and not everyone has this symptom. Many people have chronic coughing either during the day, at night, or both as their only symptom. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, a tight or squeezing feeling in their chest, or unusual fatigue with exercise or play. A person with asthma may experience only one or a combination of these different symptoms.

3. Most children outgrow their asthma or it comes and goes.

People with asthma have it all the time, even when they are not experiencing symptoms. Many children and adults must take asthma medication every day to control the symptoms and prevent serious attacks. Left untreated, asthma can cause long-term loss of lung function.

4. Treatment for asthma attacks includes breathing in a paper bag.

Breathing in a paper bag should never be used to treat an asthma attack. Taking rescue medications prescribed by your doctor and following your asthma treatment plan is the method that should be used to treat asthma attacks.

5. People with asthma should not exercise.

Everyone should exercise in some manner. Exercise and play are essential to overall good health and children with asthma should not be excluded. Ask your child’s doctor to help you develop an asthma treatment plan that will allow your child to participate in exercise without experiencing symptoms.

6. Asthma is a “hot” illness.

Actually, asthma is considered a “cold” illness that may respond to “hot” treatment. In other words, you may want to take asthma medications with hot tea or water. A warm, steamy shower may be soothing. Avoid cool mist humidifiers or vaporizers.

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