Asthma is a serious, life-threatening respiratory disease affecting over 20 million Americans – including 6 million children.

Asthma can be especially bad for those exposed to environmental factors found indoors and outdoors that act as ‘triggers.’​

What Is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that makes your airways swell so breathing becomes difficult.
Symptoms can vary from person to person. Common symptoms include:
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Whistling or wheezing sound when breathing
Some asthma symptoms are mild and go away on their own or after minimal treatment. Many people only notice their asthma symptoms while active or exercising. Sometimes asthma symptoms get worse and cause an intense and potentially deadly asthma attack. 

Asthma and Allergies​

Asthma triggered by allergies is the most common type of asthma in the U.S..

Many of the symptoms are the same, but allergic asthma is triggered by breathing in allergens. If you or your child has allergic asthma, the airway is probably extra sensitive to certain things. These can include:

  • Smoke
  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Pets
  • Dust
  • Air pollution
  • Perfumes and scented products
  • Cockroaches

Asthma Treatment

There is no cure for asthma, but there are ways to manage it.
It is very important to treat asthma symptoms when they start to help prevent them from worsening or becoming a severe asthma attack. 
Your best defense against allergies and asthma is to:
  • Understand the disease
  • Learn what triggers affect you or your child 
  • Limit exposure
  • Monitor your outside activities
  • Eat healthy
  • Avoid smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Exercise regularly
  • Use medication as directed
  • Schedule regular check-ins with your doctor or your child’s doctor

To schedule an appointment to speak with a doctor about asthma, contact Cook County Health at (312) 864-0200.