What is asthma?

  • Asthma is a lifelong lung disease.
  • It causes attacks of wheezing, breathing difficulties, a tight chest and coughing.
  • Asthma attacks occur when something (a trigger) bothers the lungs.
  • The goal of asthma treatment is to have as few symptoms as possible and to prevent attacks.

What can help you reach your goal for asthma?

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Stop smoking
If you need help to quit, ask your healthcare worker.

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Manage your triggers
Identify and avoid things that might trigger your asthma symptoms.

Get active
Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise 5 days a week.

  • Try some exercises in your home or yard.
  • Do the sweeping, work in the garden or dance to your favourite music.
  • Take part in an exercise programme on TV or online.
  • Walk instead of using transport. Take the stairs instead of the lift.

Keep a check on your condition

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  • Tell your healthcare worker about your symptoms at every visit.
  • Your healthcare worker might check your peak expiratory flow to see how forcefully you can breathe out.

Take your medication as instructed​

Prevent asthma attacks by taking your medication regularly and treating an attack as soon as it starts.

  • Know what your medication is for and how to take it.
  • There are two kinds of inhalers: relievers and controllers:
    • The reliever (e.g. salbutamol) relieves symptoms but does not control asthma.
    • The controller (e.g. budesonide, beclomethasone or fluticasone) prevents but does not relieve symptoms. This is the mainstay of treatment.
  • Inhalers work only if used correctly. A spacer helps to deliver medication to the lungs and to prevent a sore mouth.
  • Make sure you can use an inhaler (and spacer if needed) properly:


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Seal your lips.


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Press and breathe in.


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Take 4 breaths keeping spacer in mouth.

  • Check the medication list to understand how your medication works and what side effects it might cause.
  • If unsure how to use your medication, ask your healthcare worker.

Know when to seek healthcare

If you are breathing too fast to speak properly, visit the healthcare facility urgently today.

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Make contact with your healthcare facility if:

  • You run out of medication.
  • You don’t understand how to take your medication.
  • You have an appointment for a check-up.
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