Community Pediatric Asthma Service

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Asthma Control

When asthma is in control, it has very little impact on you or your child's day-to-day life.  Asthma is in control if you have: 

  • No daytime symptoms
  • No nighttime symptoms
  • No limits to normal physical activity
  • No missed school or work
  • No regular need for reliever medicine. Occasional use only

Roadmap to Asthma Control

Sometimes it can be confusing to know what to do about asthma. We have created a Roadmap to Asthma Control to help you figure out what you need to know and what you can do on the road to control your asthma.

Common symptoms of asthma may include:

  • cough (especially in the middle of the night) for several weeks after you have a cold
  • cough, shortness of breath or wheeze 3 to 5 minutes after the start of vigorous exercise
  • cough, shortness of breath or wheeze within 12 hours of being exposed to asthma triggers such as animal dander, smoke, pollen, mold, dust

If you experience any of the above symptoms, see your family doctor or pediatrician. Your doctor may refer you for a breathing test and prescribe a trial of puffers.

If you have been diagnosed with asthma and you notice more than your usual asthma symptoms, here are some questions to ask yourself and your doctor.

1.  Is your asthma medicine device not working for you?  Check the following:

  • Is your puffer empty, or expired?  Are you using it correctly?  Are you taking enough medicine?  Is your spacer broken?

2.  Are you taking your medicine or are you avoiding it because you are concerned about side effects?

3.  Are you taking your medicine regularly?

  • Inhaled corticosteroids must be taken daily and can take at least two weeks before you see fewer symptoms

4.  Are you following your Asthma Action Plan?

  • Did you take action quickly enough when you started to notice an increase in symptoms?

Things to expect when you go to your doctor:

  1. Your doctor will likely refer you for a breathing test, known as a spirometry test (children  over 6 years of age).
  2. Asthma puffer prescription to try for several weeks, this could be for:
  • an inhaled corticosteroid. Over time, this medicine will decrease or eliminate symptoms if you have asthma
  • a reliever puffer. This medicine is used whenever asthma symptoms occur to give quick and temporary relief. It is sometimes used just before exercise
  • teaching by a health care professional on how to properly use your new puffer

3.  A first draft of your personal Asthma Action Plan.

  • This plan may change over time and should be reviewed at every visit until it helps you control your asthma. Then review it once a year

4.  Allergy testing may be recommended if the doctor suspects any allergic triggers. The first step in asthma control is avoiding triggers whenever possible.

You can keep your asthma under control!  The goal for everyone with asthma is CONTROL, even as your asthma changes during the year. For most people, it can really be as simple as:

Once your asthma is well-controlled, these Simple Steps should help you maintain good control throughout the year, despite a change of season or the common cold.

Note:  For a PDF copy of our Roadmap to Asthma Control, click here.


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Material on this website has been designed for information purposes only. It should not be used in place of medical advice, instruction and/or treatment. If you have specific questions, please consult your doctor or appropriate health care professional.