Dayton Leadership Academies

A School Culture of Pride and Excellence


The Scoop on Asthma

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects the airways. Children with asthma have airways that are inflamed. Inflamed airways are very sensitive, so they tend to react strongly to things called “triggers.” Triggers are either allergy-causing substances, such as dust mites, mold, and pollen; or irritants, such as cigarette smoke and fumes from paint and cleaning fluid. When the airways react to a trigger, they become narrower due to swelling and squeezing of the airways by the small muscles around them. This results in less air getting through to the lungs and less air getting out. Symptoms of asthma include acute episodes of: • Coughing • Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound during breathing) • Chest tightness • Shortness of breath Symptoms can vary in severity; they can be mild or moderate and affect activity levels, or they can be severe and life threatening. Asthma triggers and symptoms vary from one person to another. Some children have asthma symptoms only occasionally, while others have symptoms almost all the time. With proper control of asthma, children should have minimal or no asthma symptoms. Common Asthma Triggers Although triggers that cause an asthma episode vary among individuals, there are several common triggers. • Allergens such as pollen, animal dander, dust mites, cockroaches, and molds • Irritants such as cold air, perfume, pesticides, strong odors, weather changes, cigarette smoke, and chalk dust • Respiratory infections such as a cold or the flu • Physical exercise, especially in cold weather Effective Management Can Control Asthma Asthma can be controlled with proper medical diagnosis and management. It cannot be cured. With appropriate asthma care, students with asthma should have minimal or no asthma symptoms. When their asthma is managed effectively, they can safely participate in all school activities. New treatment approaches emphasize preventing episodes by using medication appropriately and by protecting the airways from exposure to the triggers that cause inflammation
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