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  need for reliever medicine except occasionally for exercise

Roadmap to Asthma Control

Sometimes it can  be confusing to know what to do about asthma. We have created a Roadmap to Asthma Control (PDF) 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 in the middle of the night. A stuffy nose may also cause coughing when you are going to sleep and just after waking in the morning, this may not be asthma. Cough in the middle of the night is more likely to be a symptom of asthma
  • cough, shortness of breath or wheeze 3 to 5 minutes after the start of vigorous exercise
  • cough (especially in middle of the night) for several weeks after you have a cold
  • 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 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?  Is your spacer broken?

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

3.  Are you taking your medicine consistently?

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

4.  Are you following your Asthma Action Plan?

  • Did you take action quickly enough when I 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 least every 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. For most people it can really be as simple as:

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


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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.