Will the use of an Air Filter/Cleaner in my home help to control asthma and allergies?

The use of air filters/cleaners/purifiers is not recommended. So far, research has not shown that they are effective. The best way to control asthma triggers in the home is to keep allergy causing materials from entering the home and to keep the home clean and well ventilated. Some air cleaners may help to slightly reduce second hand smoke, but no air filtration system can eliminate all the harmful particles found in second hand smoke. A "high-efficiency particulate air" (HEPA) filter is capable of screening very small particles and may help decrease cat allergen in the bedroom. To do this efficiently the flow rate must be 250 cubic feet per minute.

Can I become addicted to asthma medicines?

Research has shown that Controller and Reliever medicines used to treat asthma are safe and effective for children. They have not been shown to be addictive.

Can a child outgrow asthma?

There is no cure for asthma, but asthma symptoms sometimes improve as a child gets older. About 1/3 of children improve their asthma symptoms by puberty (age 11-13yrs) but asthma may reappear in adult life. Approximately 2/3 of children will continue to have asthma symptoms throughout life. Children who have allergies, eczema, or a family history of asthma, allergies, or eczema, are less likely to outgrow asthma.

Is there a test for asthma?

There is no specific test for asthma. Asthma is diagnosed in young children by the history of their symptoms and by considering the family history of asthma, allergies, or eczema. Once a child is 6 or 7 years old, breathing tests can be done to help confirm the diagnosis of asthma. Allergy is the best predictor of the likelihood a child will have persistent asthma.


For further information please refer to the "What is Asthma" pamphlet on this website.

How does a person get asthma?

The cause of asthma is not known, but it tends to run in families. If a close family member (parent, brother, or sister) has asthma, allergies (hayfever), or eczema (allergic skin problem), a young child has a greater chance of developing asthma. Children exposed to tobacco smoke in early life are more likely to develop asthma, allergies, and viral infections. Certain viral infections in early life may also increase the chance of a child developing asthma. Asthma can develop at any age, but it most often begins in childhood.

Can we have a pet if someone in the home has asthma?

Pets are a common trigger for making asthma worse. It is best to avoid your asthma triggers. Any animal with fur, hair, or feathers can be a trigger if the person is allergic to it. If someone in the home has other allergies, it is possible that person may, in time, become allergic to the animal. For that reason, it may not be wise to bring one into the home. If you already have a pet and someone is allergic to it, it is best to remove the animal from the home. Remember that it may take months after the animal is out of the home before the levels of animal allergen decrease. If it is not possible to remove the animal from the home, the pet should be kept outside as much as possible or in a designated area of the home. Pets should never be allowed in the bedroom.


For more information please refer to the "Animal Allergy" pamphlet on this website.

When is the best time to stop or decrease the amount of Controller medicine I use?

It is important to keep asthma under good control using the least amount of medicine. The amount of Controller medicine needed to control the asthma may vary depending on the time of year and exposure to triggers. Everyone's asthma is different. Some people need Controller medicines every day to control the inflammation inside the airways. Some are able to decrease the amount of Controller medicines for a while when asthma is under good control. The best time to reduce or stop asthma medicine is when your asthma is under good control and you are not bothered by your triggers. Follow your Asthma Action Plan. Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to the amount of asthma medicines.


For further information please refer to the "Asthma Medicines" pamphlet on this website.

After starting Controller Medicine, how long should I continue to take it?

Controller medicines are taken to control the inflammation and swelling on the inside of the airways and to keep asthma under control. When first started, these medicines take a few days to start working. People with asthma always have some swelling in the airways. Therefore, Controller medicines should be taken every day even when you are feeling well, until your doctor tells you to stop or decrease the dose. It is generally recommended that Controller medicine be restarted or increased at the first sign of a cold. Using an Asthma Action Plan filled out by your doctor will help you to know when to change the dose of Controller medicine.


For more information please refer to the "Asthma Action Plans" pamphlet and the "Working Towards Asthma Control" pamphlet on this website.

How can I tell if a cough is due to a cold or asthma?

Colds are a trigger for asthma. Getting a cold will worsen asthma by increasing the inflammation and mucous inside the airways in the lungs. Coughing at night or early in the morning is often a symptom of asthma. It is important to treat the cough with asthma medicines.

Your child's Controller medicine should be started or increased at the first sign of a cold. Follow the child's Asthma Action Plan. If the asthma medicines are not helping your child's cough or if a high fever develops, your child should be seen by the doctor.


For further information, please refer to the "Asthma Medicines" and "Asthma Action Plans" pamphlets on this website.


Can I give my child with asthma cough medicines or antihistamines to treat symptoms?

It is important to talk with your child's doctor before giving your child any medicines. Antihistamines are medicines used to treat some allergy symptoms. Your doctor may tell you to try them if your child has lots of nasal itchiness and a runny nose.

Cough medicines are not recommended for the treatment of asthma. If your child is having asthma symptoms (cough, wheeze, shortness of breath or chest tightness) more than three times a week, their asthma is not under control. The cough should be treated using asthma controller medicines. If the asthma medicines are not helping, your child should be seen by the doctor.


For more information, please refer to the "Working Towards Asthma Control" pamphlet on this website.

Will asthma medicines lose their effectiveness if used for a long time?

Controller medicines used to treat asthma do not lose their effectiveness over time. These medicines need to be taken regularly every day as prescribed by the doctor to keep the swelling and inflammation inside the airways under control. Remember as your child grows, their asthma can change. It is important to have regular follow-ups with your doctor to make sure your child is using the right dose and the right medicine.


Reliever medicines are taken to relieve asthma symptoms. If your child needs his/her Reliever medicine more than three times a week for asthma symptoms, it means their asthma is not under control. It may mean your child needs to start or increase their Controller medicine to treat the inflammation.


For further information please see the "Asthma Medicines" pamphlet on our website.


Are inhaled corticosteroids medicines (Controllers/Preventers) safe to use in children?

Inhaled corticosteroids are considered to be one of the best and safest medicines to use in the treatment of asthma. Inhaled steroids help control the swelling, and mucous in the airways. The goal is to use the lowest dose of medicine required to maintain good asthma control. In a few patients, inhaled steroids can cause a yeast infection (thrush) in the mouth or throat and a hoarse voice. Using a spacer device with a metered dose inhaler (puffer) and rinsing the mouth after will help prevent this.

Inhaled steroids may cause a small (up to 1 centimeter) short term effect on growth. For most children, in the long term, height is not affected by normal doses of inhaled steroids.


For further information please see the "Benefits and Risks of Inhaled Corticosteroids" pamphlet on our website.


If my child is diagnosed with asthma, should he/she still exercise?

Yes, regular exercise is important for everyone, especially children with asthma. Exercise makes the heart and lungs stronger. If your child is finding it hard to exercise, their asthma is not well controlled. Talk with your doctor or educator to get the asthma under control.

Even for some children, whose asthma is well controlled, exercise may be an asthma trigger. Check with your doctor about using a Reliever medicine

10-15 minutes before exercise to prevent or decrease symptoms. It's important to have a warm-up period before and cool down period after exercise.


Sports with short bursts of activity are less likely to cause asthma symptoms than prolonged exercise such as soccer or long distance running. Cold air is an extra trigger with exercise.


It is recommended that children with asthma should not scuba dive.


For further information please see the "Asthma and Exercise" pamphlet on our website.


Should I use a humidifier in my home?

In most cases it is not a good idea to use a humidifier in the home. It is best to keep the humidity in the home below 50%. High humidity encourages house dust mite growth and increases the chance of mold growth. Although outdoor mold is more of a problem for asthma, indoor mold can be an irritant if asthma is not under control. The humidifier itself can be a source of mold growth which can spread throughout the home. If a humidifier is used, it is important to keep it clean.