We often just need the basics when faced with something new, but many times we fail to step back and learn them before jumping in head first. A good understanding of the basics in asthma can prevent you from saying “I wish I had learned that years ago.” In asthma 101 we will focus on the “what you need to know” and “what you need to do” to get control of your asthma.
What Is Asthma?
In asthma your child’s airways become inflamed and narrow. The picture to the right depicts what is going on in the lung. This leads to classic asthma symptoms such as:
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Wheezing (the whistling sound you may hear when your child breathes in and out)
If you would like to feel what it is like to have asthma try the following exercise. You will need a regular straw and a cocktail straw. Do the following (do not do this if you have asthma, COPD, or other medical problem that might make it difficult for you to breathe. Stop if you feel bad at all,):
- Breathe through a regular straw while holding your nose for 2 minutes.
- Replace the regular straw with the cocktail straw and breathe while holding your nose for 2 minutes.
- Walk briskly while breathing with the cocktail straw.
You will find that it is much more difficult to breathe through the small straw and this is made even worse by activity.