4 asthma myths debunked

May 30, 2019


Asthma affects a lot of people. More than 24 million people in the U.S. have it. So chances are someone you know has this lung disease—maybe even you. But all too often, asthma is misunderstood. And the consequences of that can be serious.

For starters, asthma can keep people from living life to the fullest if it isn’t well controlled. Worse, it can lead to emergency room visits. This is why it’s important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to asthma and its treatment.

Here are some common myths about asthma, followed by the truth from experts:

Myth 1: Asthma often goes away.

Truth: Asthma is a chronic illness. Its symptoms flare up if a person with asthma is exposed to their personal triggers—such as tobacco smoke, air pollution, dust, mold or strong odors. But even when asthma isn’t acting up, the underlying cause is always present. This is why people with asthma must continue to follow their treatment plan—even when they aren’t feeling any symptoms.

Myth 2: Asthma medicines are only needed during asthma attacks.

Truth: People with asthma need to carry a rescue inhaler at all times to stop any asthma attacks. But many people with asthma also take daily controller medicines. Along with other asthma control measures, these medicines are designed to help prevent asthma attacks.

Myth 3: Asthma isn’t that serious.

Truth: Asthma is nothing to take lightly. Severe attacks can be fatal. But with a proper treatment plan—and a doctor’s help—asthma can be controlled. Controlling asthma includes learning to avoid things that trigger asthma attacks and understanding how to recognize and stop severe attacks.

Myth 4: People with asthma shouldn’t exercise or play sports.

Truth: People with asthma can and should be physically active, just like everyone else. That said, exercise can actually be an asthma trigger for some people. But even then, a doctor can create a safe exercise plan. The plan may include taking medicines before exercising to prevent asthma attacks.

Take asthma seriously

The takeaway? Asthma is a long-term disease that needs to be managed. When their asthma is well controlled, people feel better. And they’re less likely to miss work, school or sleep. In other words, asthma shouldn’t interfere with daily life.

People who have asthma also need to know how to prevent and stop attacks. A doctor-created asthma action plan will explain the steps. It will also explain what to do if a severe, potentially life-threatening attack occurs.

Here are some signs you or someone around you is having a severe asthma attack that warrants a call to 911:

  • The person is having trouble breathing and talking.
  • The person’s lips of fingernails turn blue.

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