Asthma FAQs

Questionover 1 year ago

What is an asthma attack?

Dr. Ayush Pandey MBBS, PG Diploma

An asthma attack, or asthma exacerbation, happens when the airways of the lungs become inflamed and produce extra mucus. This makes breathing difficult.

The attack can be precipitated by environmental factors or underlying allergies. If you or a loved one has asthma, you should talk to a doctor to help you identify what triggers your asthma.

While different people can have slightly different symptoms of an asthma attack, some common signs to look out for are severe shortness of breath, sharp chest pain or a feeling of tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing.

It is important to take your medicine as soon as you have any of these symptoms and you realise you may be having an asthma attack. In some cases, medicines provided by your doctor may be sufficient to tide over the attack. But in cases where the symptoms do not improve even after taking the medicine, you must rush to the doctor’s office.

Questionover 1 year ago

What does asthma cough sound like?

Dr. Haleema Yezdani MBBS

Asthma cough is typically a dry cough which is accompanied by wheezing - a type of whistling sound from the chest. 

There is a type of asthma called cough-variant asthma in which cough is the only symptom of asthma. Studies show that cough-variant asthma is the cause of chronic cough in a lot of people.

Questionover 1 year ago

Can asthma be cured?

Dr. Joydeep Sarkar MBBS

There is currently no cure for asthma, but with proper medication and management, the disease can be controlled.

Inhalers are commonly used to manage symptoms. There are different types of inhalers that can be used, depending on the severity of the disease.

Reliever inhalers are used when symptoms such as wheezing occur. They help to soothe the lungs. However, if these inhalers can’t manage the disease, preventive inhalers may be needed as well.

For more severe cases, medication in the form of tablets or injections is available. Consult with a doctor before taking or changing any medications. In some cases, a procedure called bronchial thermoplasty may be required to provide relief. To do this procedure, a qualified doctor will use a catheter to deliver a controlled amount of radiofrequency energy into the airways of the lungs and help them open up.

Questionover 1 year ago

Can my asthma become worse as I get older?

Dr. Anjum Mujawar MBBS

If you are following your doctor’s instructions and taking your medication regularly, asthma should not worsen with age. Always be mindful of your symptoms; if you feel they are getting worse, check with your doctor to modify the treatment plan. 

Poorly managed asthma can worsen with time and further impair lung function.

Questionover 1 year ago

Will my child get asthma because I have it?

Dr. Manju Shekhawat MBBS

If you have asthma, then that increases the chances of your child having asthma too. However, this is not a foregone conclusion. Scientists are still trying to learn the exact causes of asthma; according to the latest findings, it is likely due to several genetic and environmental factors, among other reasons.

Questionover 1 year ago

Why does cold weather make my asthma worse? Is there something I can do about this at home?

Dr. Uday Nath Sahoo MBBS

Colder temperatures make the air dryer, which can flare asthmatic symptoms. In fact, studies based out of China and Finland have shown that emergency hospital visits due to asthma increase in the winter. This is partly because cold air causes fluid in the airways to evaporate faster, which can irritate the airways. Additionally, the body produces more mucus in colder temperatures, which can also increase the likelihood of allergies which can precipitate asthmatic symptoms.

Drinking water can thin the mucus down and prevent this from happening. Therefore, drinking water is a good idea when the weather is cold--just make sure that the water is not too cold. Using a humidifier in your room can also help.

Questionover 1 year ago

Is it safe for me to exercise if I have asthma?

Dr. Sameer Awadhiya MBBS

It is a good idea to see a doctor before you take up any activity. That said, most people with asthma can exercise without having to worry about adverse effects.

In fact, research shows that not only is exercise safe, but it should actually be encouraged because of its many benefits for overall health. Those with exercise-induced asthma need to consult their doctor before exercising, however. 

Since asthmatics are more sensitive to extremes in temperature, pollution and allergens, it is advisable to not exercise outside if:

  • The pollution levels are too high in your locality
  • It is allergy season.
  • Or it is extremely cold outside.

Swimming is a particularly good way to keep healthy and increase lung capacity. Team sports such as cricket, which require bursts of energy rather than sustained energy, and leisure exercises such as hiking and cycling are considered safe too.

No exercise is off-limits per se, but sports that are played in cold temperatures such as ice hockey, and strenuous endeavours such as long-distance running and soccer should be approached with more caution. With well-controlled asthma, these activities are also considered safe.

Warming up adequately before exercising, gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your exercise routines and avoiding overexertion can help a lot. Further, try breathing through your nose and make sure you are adequately hydrated throughout.

Questionover 1 year ago

Do I have a higher risk of getting COVID-19 if I have asthma?

Dr. Om Shah MBBS

Having asthma can increase your chances of getting severely ill if you contract COVID-19. The new coronavirus that causes COVID-19 attacks the lungs and airways.

If you have asthma, it is advisable to follow public health guidance more strictly:

  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • Maintain at least six feet of physical distance from everyone else.
  • Avoid contact with those who appear to be sick.
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

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