Living With Asthma
In This Section:
Adult asthma symptoms occur when the airways become inflamed and narrow. It’s important to try to avoid certain allergens like pollen and mold and irritants such as tobacco smoke and strong odors. These allergens and irritants can cause or worsen inflammation and produce various asthma symptoms. Asthma symptoms in adults include shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness.
If you are suddenly experiencing asthma symptoms like these, or if you have asthma symptoms like these that appear and then disappear, you may have adult asthma and should consult with your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
If you've already been diagnosed with adult asthma and your asthma symptoms still appear three or more times a week, you should talk with your doctor about using another type of asthma controller medication.
When a child has asthma, his or her airways become inflamed and narrowed. This inflammation makes it harder for air to flow in and out of the lungs, making it more difficult to breathe.
The most common asthma symptoms in children are coughing and wheezing. Other asthma symptoms in children include:
- Shortness of breath (difficulty breathing)
- Chest tightness
Tracking your child’s asthma symptoms
Kids can’t always make all their asthma symptoms known — especially during a doctor visit — so the doctor may rely on you to report on your child’s symptoms. The asthma symptom tracker below will help you keep track of your child’s asthma symptoms and triggers between doctor’s visits.
Note: If any of the symptoms below seem severe, contact your child’s doctor immediately.
Changes in symptoms since your child’s last doctor visit
Read the following list of symptoms and note whether any occur more often, are about the same, or occur less often since your last doctor visit.
- Rapid breathing/shortness of breath
- Tightness in chest/complains of chest hurting
- Sluggishness; avoids strenuous play
- Restlessness during sleep
- Unusual paleness
- Sweating or anxiety
- Missed days at day care/preschool/school
- Using rescue (quick relief) medicine*
You can print a copy of the symptom tracker from the PULMICORT FLEXHALER desktop site. Click here to email yourself a link to the site.
*If your child is using rescue medicine, like albuterol, more than twice a week, then his or her asthma may not be as well controlled as you think.
Asthma Symptom Prevention Plan
It’s important to keep track of your child’s asthma triggers and symptoms so you can try to prevent asthma symptoms before they occur. You may also need to educate others about asthma triggers and what can be done to reduce them. Start by sharing the list of asthma triggers above with your child’s school, daycare center, babysitters, relatives and friends.
It’s also important to let anyone caring for your child know the signs and symptoms that indicate when you need to take action.
Use the information below to create a plan for caregivers. Or download the Asthma Prevention Plan from the PULMICORT FLEXHALER desktop site. Click here to email yourself a link to the site.
- Breathing is easy
- No coughing or wheezing
- Sleeping through the night
- Wants to eat and play
- Normal (or good) energy level
- Playful and happy
Be sure to let caregivers know what medicines your child takes regularly, the dosage, and on what schedule.
- First sign of a cold
- Exposure to known triggers
- Cough and/or mild wheezing
- Complaining of tightness of chest
- Coughing at night or waking often
- Irritable and tired
Be sure to let caregivers know what medicines to add, the dosage, and when to administer them. If quick-relief medicine is needed more than two to three times a week, you or your caregiver should CALL YOUR CHILD’S DOCTOR.
Make sure caregivers have your doctor’s phone number and any emergency numbers required to act quickly if your child’s asthma symptoms get out of control.
- Medicine is NOT helping
- Breathing is hard and fast
- Nose opens wide as child breathes
- Ribs show as child breathes in
- Lips and/or fingernails are blue
- Trouble walking and talking
- Muscles of stomach are used when breathing
Breathing problems can be life threatening. If you or your child’s caregiver cannot contact your child’s doctor, go directly to the nearest emergency room. DO NOT WAIT! Make an appointment with your child’s primary care provider within two days of an ER visit or any hospitalization.