Community Pediatric Asthma Service

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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic or long-term disease of the airways, the tubes that carry air into our lungs. It causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes that leads to airflow limitation.  Asthma has many symptoms and children with asthma may experience some or all of them.  Talk to your doctor about asthma if you notice your child experiencing any of the following:

  • Cough in the middle of the night that often wakes you or your child up
  • Cold symptoms (congestion, cough, trouble breathing) that won't go away after a few weeks
  • Coughing, wheezing, trouble breathing or chest tightness after a few minutes of exercise, or during specific times of year such as “allergy season” or cold seasons

An informative video produced by the Children's Allergy & Asthma Education Center shows the many early warning signs of asthma.  If you are new to asthma, take a look at this video as well as the document below for more help.


How Asthma Affects Your Lungs

Asthma makes breathing difficult and often results in coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest.  

Here's what happens to your body if you have asthma:

  • Inhaled triggers cause the lungs to over-react
  • The airways in the lungs get inflamed and swollen
  • Mucus is produced and builds up in the airways
  • Swelling and mucus may block and narrow the airways
  • Sometimes the muscles around the airways tighten and squeeze the airways
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Risk Factors

Asthma may be more likely when children:

  • have allergies or eczema
  • have family members with asthma or allergic conditions, such as eczema, hay fever and even food allergies
  • are exposed to asthma triggers at home such as cigarette smoke, animal or dust allergies

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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.