Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It is one of the most common long-term diseases of children, but adults can have asthma, too. Asthma causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing at night or early in the morning. If you have asthma, you have it all the time, but you will have asthma attacks only when something bothers your lungs.

In most cases, we do not know what causes asthma, and we do not know how to cure it. We know that if someone in your family has asthma, you are more likely to have it.


Three things you should know about asthma:

1.         Asthma is chronic. In other words, you live with it every day.

2.         It can be serious – even life-threatening.

3.         There is no cure for asthma, but it can be managed so you live a normal, healthy life.

What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the airways in the lungs. During an asthma attack, airways become inflamed, making it hard to breathe. Asthma attacks can be mild, moderate, or serious — and even life-threatening.

Symptoms of an asthma attack include:

• Coughing

• Shortness of breath or trouble breathing

• Wheezing

• Tightness or pain in the chest

We do not know for sure what causes asthma, but we do know that attacks are sometimes triggered by:

• Allergens (like pollen, mold, animal dander, and dust mites)

• Exercise

• Occupational hazards

• Tobacco smoke

• Air pollution

• Airway infections

There is no cure for asthma. People with asthma can manage their disease

with medical care and prevent attacks by avoiding triggers.

Is asthma really a problem?

Yes. Asthma is a serious health and economic concern in the United States.

It is expensive.

• Asthma costs the United States $56 billion each year.

• The average yearly cost of care for a child with asthma was $1,039 in 2009.

In 2008, asthma caused:

• 10.5 million missed days of school

• 14.2 million missed days of work

It is common.

In 2010:

• 18.7 million adults had asthma. That is equal to 1 in 12 adults.

• 7 million children had asthma. That is equal to 1 in 11 children.

It is deadly.

• About 9 people die from asthma each day.

• In 2009, 3,388 people died from asthma.

How often do people with asthma see their doctors?

Children see medical professionals for asthma care more often than adults. This includes:

• Routine doctor visits

• Emergency department visits

• Urgent care visits

Nearly 1 in 5 children with asthma went to an emergency department for care in 2009.


Race and ethnicity make a difference:

• African American adults are hospitalized for asthma more often than Caucasian adults.

• African American and Hispanic children visit emergency departments for asthma care more often than Caucasian children.


Are doctors teaching patients how to manage asthma?

Teaching people how to manage asthma on their own is one of the most important parts of controlling the disease nationwide. Everyone with asthma should develop an individualized asthma action plan with a doctor. Children are more likely than adults to learn how to manage their asthma.

• More than 8 in 10 children are taught how to recognize asthma


• Fewer than 7 in 10 adults are taught how to recognize asthma symptoms.

In general, people with asthma are not getting action plans from their doctors.

In fact:

• Fewer than 1 in 2 children get an asthma action plan.

• Fewer than 1 in 3 adults get an asthma action plan.


Asthma. (2013, November, 21). Retrieved from CDC:

Learning More About Asthma. (2014). Retrieved from American Lung Association:

If your child has-ASTHMA

The School Nurse Needs

  1. A Doctors order for an Inhaler
  2. A Parent’s consent for Medication Administration
  3. An Authorization for Exchange of Health Information
  4. A Request for Release of Health Records
  5. Your Child’s Inhaler


Links that may be useful– asthma/AsthmaActionPlan-JUL2008-high-res.pdf