Practical resources to help family caregivers in the midst of caring for someone

Understanding asthma

You may have seen the poster in the doctor’s office showing the anatomy of lungs with asthma. If you haven’t, consider visiting Asthma Canada’s What is asthma webpage to view the famous diagram!

Asthma triggers will initiate the symptoms of asthma. It is important to note that not everyone with asthma will have the same triggers. Some people may have only one trigger whereas others may have several. Asthma Canada categorizes common asthma triggers as “inflammatory triggers” or “symptom triggers.” A few examples of asthma triggers are dust mites, animals, and pollens but there are many more!

So, what exactly happens when someone experiences an asthma attack? Click here to visit Asthma Canada’s comprehensive What is an asthma attack webpage.

What should you do for a person experiencing an asthma attack?

  • Give them their inhaler that has been prescribed to relieve symptoms of an asthma attack.

*Please note that there are many different types of inhalers and only specific types of inhalers provide quick relief of asthma symptoms. Visit Asthma Canada’s Relievers webpage for information about the various types of inhalers that may be prescribed to relieve the symptoms of an asthma attack.

  • If their asthma symptoms are not resolving with the use of the inhaler or the inhaler is not accessible, you must call 9-1-1 immediately.

*It is important for the person to have their prescribed reliever medication with them at all times. Asthma Canada states that “Every year, about 250 Canadians die from asthma. Most of these deaths, however, could have been prevented with proper education and management.”

Encourage the person you are caring for  to follow their prescribed asthma management plan and to take all medications as prescribed.

Asthma is a chronic condition that should be monitored regularly by a health care professional. The person with asthma should attend all scheduled medical appointments. It is also important for the person to be assessed by a health care professional if there is an increase in the frequency and/or severity of their asthma symptoms. This will ensure that all asthma medications and therapies are adjusted appropriately.

Please note that this article is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice.

Asthma fact: asthma symptoms can also be triggered by the common cold.

 

 

 

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