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The lungs‘ airways are affected by a chronic inflammatory condition known as asthma. Its distinguishing features include variable and recurrent symptoms, reversible airflow blockage, and quickly caused bronchospasms. Episodes of wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath are among the symptoms.
See the fact file below for more information on Asthma, or you can download our 30-page Asthma worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
EARLY SYMPTOMS OF ASTHMA
- Changes that occur right before or at the very start of an asthma episode are known as early warning symptoms. These symptoms are the first indications that your asthma is worsening and may appear before the more typical asthma symptoms.
- Generally speaking, these symptoms are not severe enough to prevent you from carrying out your regular activities. However, by being aware of these symptoms, you can avoid an asthma attack or stop it from worsening.
- The following are early indicators of an asthma attack:
- Coughing often, especially at night; breathing difficulties or lack of breath when exercising, feeling very worn out or weak, coughing or wheezing following exercise, being worn out easily, irritated, cranky or moody, lung function varies or declines as detected by a peak flow meter, allergies or cold symptoms (runny nose, cough, nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat, and headache).
SYMPTOMS OF AN ASTHMA ATTACK
- During an asthma attack, the muscles that surround the airways tense up. We refer to this constriction as bronchospasm. During an attack, the cells lining the airways produce thicker mucus than usual, resulting in swelling or inflammation of the airway lining.
- Bronchospasm, inflammation, and mucus production contribute to symptoms like breathing difficulties, coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty performing everyday tasks. In addition to these signs of an asthma attack:
- Severe wheezing both inside and outside of the mouth
- Cough that won’t go away, rapid breathing chest pressure, or discomfort
- Retractions are tensed neck and chest muscles
- Trouble speaking
- Anxiety or panicky emotions pale, perspiring face
- Blue fingernails or lips.
ASTHMA SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN
- In the United States, asthma is the most common chronic condition in children, affecting 10% to 12% of them. The generality of asthma in children is increasing rapidly for unidentified causes.
- Although asthma symptoms can appear at any age, most kids experience their first asthma symptoms by age 5. Not all asthmatic kids wheeze.
- A child’s asthma may not be diagnosed if their persistent cough is mistakenly thought to be caused by recurrent bronchitis. Chronic coughing with asthma may be the sole visible indicator.
- Not all asthmatics have the typical coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. People may have strange asthma symptoms that might not seem connected to asthma. The following are some “strange” asthma symptoms that may occur:
- quickly breathing
- incapacity to perform a proper exercise (called exercise-induced asthma)
- inability to sleep or asthma at night
- anxiety, persistent cough but no wheeze
- Other illnesses, including bronchitis, voice cord dysfunction, and heart failure, can resemble asthma symptoms.
ASTHMA TRIGGERS AND PREVENTIONS
- You may have an asthma attack when exposed to “asthma triggers,” which can vary widely from person to person with asthma. Learn how to avoid your triggers by being aware of them.
- Be on the lookout for an attack whenever you can’t avoid the triggers. Among the most typical stimuli are:
- While smoking is unhealthy for everyone, people with asthma are particularly vulnerable. Stop smoking if you have asthma and a smoking habit. ‘
- Secondhand smoke is defined as smoke created by a smoker and inhaled by another person. Secondhand smoke can trigger an asthma attack. Make your home a smoke-free zone.
- Encourage family members who smoke to stop. If you have asthma, no one should smoke around you, in your home, in your car, or in any other place you could spend a lot of time.
- Microscopic insects called dust mites are common in many households. Dust mites can cause an asthma attack if you have an allergy and have asthma. To stop attacks:
- Utilize mattress and pillowcase covers that are resistant to allergens to put some distance between you and the dust mites.
- Use down-free pillows, blankets, and comforters at all times.
- Wash and dry your bedding once a week.
- Use a HEPA filter to vacuum floors, carpets, and area rugs often.
- Maintain low humidity levels—between 30 and 50% —in the home.
Outdoor Air Pollution
- An asthma attack can be brought on by outdoor air pollution, which can be caused by various factors, including vehicles, industries, and wildfire smoke.
- Smoke from wildfires caused by burning vegetation or wood contains minute particles and potentially dangerous compounds. An asthma attack may occur if you are overexposed to this smoke.
Pests (e.g., cockroaches, mice)
- Cockroaches and other insects are frequently seen in areas where food is consumed, and crumbs are left behind. For your home’s pest control:
- Eliminate all sources of water and food.
- It is imperative to wipe up spills, crumbs, and dishes soon.
- To keep food, use airtight containers.
- Keep rubbish in a closed container.
- Vacuum or sweep places that can attract mice or cockroaches at least once every two to three days. Clear the counters, sinks, tables, and floors of all clutter.
- Fix any gaps or cracks in baseboards, cabinets, walls, plumbing, and around the plumbing.
- Use pesticide baits and traps as the manufacturer directs, keeping them away from children and pets.
- It is best to avoid using sprays and foggers because they can cause asthma problems.
- An asthma attack may result from an allergy to hairy animals. You might want to find the furry pet a new home if you believe it is the source of the attacks. Reduce your exposure if you are unable or unwilling to find the pet a new home by:
- keeping animals away from bedrooms, cleaning fluffy animals
- utilizing a HEPA-filtered air purifier, and using mattress and pillow covers that are allergen-proof
- trimming a pet’s fur won’t improve your asthma since people who have allergies to hair are not allergic to their pet’s skin.
- It doesn’t matter if you have an allergy to mold; it can still cause an asthma attack. Mold can grow indoors in damp spaces like bathrooms, basements, and kitchens and in places with water damage. Mold comes in wide different varieties and can be found anywhere. To assist you in managing your attacks, get rid of the mold in your home. To reduce the risk of mold exposure in your home:
- To stop mold formation, dry damp objects within 24 to 48 hours.
- As quickly as possible, fix any water leaks that cause mold to develop behind walls and doors, such as leaky plumbing.
- If mold is found, replace absorbent items like carpets and ceiling tiles.
- Get a hygrometer, a little device, to measure humidity levels, and keep them as low as possible—no more than 50%. Because it fluctuates throughout the day, check the humidity level more than once daily.
- Clean the hard surfaces of the mold with dishwashing liquid and water and dry completely.
- Regularly empty and clean the drip pans on your refrigerator and air conditioner.
- Turn on the bathroom exhaust fan or open a window when taking a shower.
Cleaning and Disinfection
- Disinfectants can trigger an asthma attack. People with asthma should avoid areas where cleaners or disinfectants are used, as well as the immediate aftermath. When sanitizing or cleaning places where persons with asthma may congregate, such as homes, workplaces, or schools, take the following precautions:
- Invest in safer products.
- To reduce the possibility that any disinfectant can trigger an asthma attack, you can take the following precautions:
- Before disinfecting, clean unclean areas. Never combine cleaning agents.
- Pick a disinfectant that won’t trigger an asthma attack, like anything containing ethanol or hydrogen peroxide (no more than 3%) (ethyl alcohol).
- Make sure that items containing ethanol, or hydrogen peroxide, don’t also include substances like peroxyacetic acid or peracetic acid, which can trigger asthma attacks.
- In enclosed areas, limit your usage of quaternary ammonium compounds and bleach (sodium hypochlorite). Avoid using fragranced items.
- Asthma attacks may be brought on by scents. Ensure there is adequate airflow (ventilation). If it is safe to do so, open the windows and doors to let in some fresh air.
- Illnesses like the influenza virus (u), colds, and the respiratory syncytial virus can cause an asthma attack (RSV). Episodes can also be brought on by sinus infections, allergies, pollen, inhaling certain chemicals, and acid reflux.
- An asthma attack can also be brought on by physical activity, medications, unfavorable weather conditions like thunderstorms or excessive humidity, breathing in chilly, dry air, and a few foods, food additives, and scents.
- Strong feelings might result in hyperventilation, or highly rapid breathing, which can trigger an asthma attack.
PATHOPHYSIOLOGY OF ASTHMA
- Based on the World Health Organization, asthma affects 235 million people globally. Asthma can be divided into two main categories: allergic and non-allergic.
- Inflamed airways respond to environmental triggers like smoke, dust or pollen during an asthma attack.
- Breathing becomes challenging because the airways are constricted and overflowing with mucus. In its most basic form, asthma is brought on by an immunological reaction in the bronchial airways.
- Patients with asthma have airways hypersensitive to some triggers, often known as stimuli (see below).
- The bronchi (significant airways) tighten into spasms in response to exposure to these stimuli (typically categorized as type I hypersensitivity).
- Soon after, there is inflammation, which causes the airways to become even more constricted and produce excessive mucus, which causes coughing and other breathing problems.
- In around 50% of sufferers, bronchospasm may become a component of a “late” reaction, in which the initial exposure is followed 3–12 hours later by further bronchoconstriction and inflammation.
- Bronchospasm may recover spontaneously in 1-2 hours.
- The mechanisms underlying allergic asthma, or asthma brought on by an immunological reaction to allergens inhaled, are the most well-understood of the underlying causes.
- Antigen-presenting cells, or APCs, are a type of cell that absorb inhaled allergens that make their way to the inner airways in both persons with asthma and people without the disease. Pieces of the allergen are then “presented” by APCs to other immune system cells.
- These other immune cells (TH0 cells) “check” and typically disregard the allergen molecules in most people. However, these cells change into a different kind of cell (TH2) in people living with asthma for unknown reasons.
- The resulting TH2 cells stimulate the humoral immune system, an essential component of the immune system.
- Antibodies are created by the humoral immune system against the allergen inhaled.
- These antibodies “recognize” the allergen later on when a patient inhales it, triggering a humoral response.
- The outcome of inflammation is the production of substances that thicken the walls of the airways, encourage the proliferation of cells that cause scarring and further “airway remodeling,” increase the size and production of mucus-producing cells, and activate the immune system’s cell-mediated arm.
- Inflamed Airways are more hypersensitive and are, therefore, more likely to spasm.
- The primary cause of asthma appears to be immunological, as seen by the increased airway inflammation presented by young children with early-stage asthma.
- Epidemiological findings provide information about the pathophysiology of the disease. For example, asthma prevalence appears to be rising globally and is much more prevalent in developed nations.
Asthma and Sleep Apnea
- More and more often, it is understood that when obstructive sleep apnea (a serious sleep disorder) is identified and treated, individuals with asthma frequently see dramatic improvements.
Asthma and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
- Acid aspiration episodes may repeatedly occur in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD). Although treating GERD may be prevalent in those with difficult-to-control asthma, it does not appear to affect asthma, according to one study.
- Esophageal pH monitoring is necessary to confirm the diagnosis and establish the link between GERD and asthma when there is a clinical suspicion that GERD is the underlying cause.
TYPES OF ASTHMA
- Based on the underlying reason and the severity of the symptoms, there are many forms of asthma. Medical professionals define asthma as:
- Intermittent asthma allows you to feel normal in between asthma attacks. When you have persistent asthma, you have symptoms frequently. Symptoms might range from minor to severe. On the frequency of your symptoms, medical professionals determine how severe your asthma is. They take into account your ability to function during an attack as well.
- Asthma can also be:
- Adult-onset: After the age of 18, this form of asthma develops.
- Pediatric: Also known as pediatric asthma, this disease can affect newborns and toddlers and frequently develops before age 5.
- There are also the following forms of asthma:
- Exercise-induced asthma, also known as exercise-induced bronchospasm, is a form of asthma brought on by physical activity.
- Occupational asthma wherein people who spend a lot of time around irritants at work are likelier to develop this type of asthma.
- What is commonly known as the asthma-COPD overlap syndrome (ACOS) is a condition in which a person has both chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.
ASTHMA TREATMENT OPTIONS
- There are methods you can use to control your asthma. These consist of:
- These drugs, known as bronchodilators, ease the muscles surrounding your airways, which loosens the airflow. Additionally, they facilitate mucus passage through the airways.
- These drugs offer momentary symptom alleviation and are used to treat both intermittent and chronic asthma.
- These drugs reduce airway edema and mucus production. They clear the flow of the air into and out of your lungs.
- To manage or avoid your persistent asthma symptoms, your doctor may prescribe them for daily use.
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Asthma across 30 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching kids about Asthma, which is when the lungs’ airways are affected by a chronic inflammatory condition.
Complete List of Included Worksheets
Below is a list of all the worksheets included in this document.
- Asthma Facts
- Little Things About Asthma
- Writing About Asthma
- My Asthma Plan
- Asthma Triggers
- News Reading
- Short Film Analysis
- Why Do You Think So?
Frequently Asked Questions
What is unique about asthma?
Asthma is a term that means a person has trouble breathing. There are different reasons this happens, like being around viruses or cigarette smoke. Sometimes, things like sudden weather changes can make it worse.
What is the rarest form of asthma?
EA is a type of asthma that is not very common. We do not know how many people have it, but some estimates say that around 5 percent of adults with asthma might have it. EA can be hard to treat, especially in severe cases, making life harder to enjoy.
What is climate best for asthma?
According to research, people with asthma should strive for an optimal room temperature between 68-71°F. Not too hot or cold – just perfect! This mild temperate ensures extreme temperatures do not overly aggravate airways.
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Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.