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What is Asthma?

Asthma is described as a chronic (long-term) disease that makes it hard to breathe; it cannot be cured, but with proper treatment it can be managed.  


The airways (breathing passages) of a person with Asthma are extra sensitive, which can become red and swollen. They fill up with mucous making breathing more difficult; or, the muscles around the airways become “twitchy” or go into spasm, squeezing the airways tighter and tighter, thus making them narrower and making breathing more difficult. 


Who can develop Asthma?

Anyone, at any age, can develop Asthma, and doctors know that there are some things which make a person more likely to get Asthma. For example, Family History: if people in your family have Allergic Diseases like Asthma, Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis), or Eczema, there is a greater chance they will also have Asthma. Air Pollution (indoors.outdoors): some research has shown that people, who live near high pollution areas, are more likely to get Asthma. Also, children who grow up in a home with mould or dust, or inhale second-hand smoke, may be more likely to get Asthma. Occupational Asthma: people in certain types of jobs can get Asthma from the things in which they come in contact.


People with Asthma often have other Allergies that can make their Asthma worse. It’s important to know what causes one’s allergic reactions, and to get rid of, or stay away from the things one is allergic to (allergens). See the section on this website related to Allergies .


What causes Asthma?

Asthma can be triggered, or induced, by a number of things, such as: Exercise or Play; Emotions (excitement, anger, fear, and even laughter), Environment (smoke, scents, breathing cold/warm humid air, or coming in contact with household sprays or polishes), Cold or Viral Infections, Dust and Dust Mites, Mould and Pollen, or Pets.


What are the Signs and Symptoms of Asthma?

Different people have different signs and symptoms of Asthma, which can change over time. These may include: wheezing, chest tightness, coughing or being “short of breath”.


A person experiencing a serious Asthma emergency might struggle for breath; have trouble speaking-can’t finish sentences, for example; have their nostrils flaring out; have a pale or grey complexion, sweat, have lips or nails that are blue, very tired or lethargic, or become unconscious. 


What are the Management Options?

As mentioned, there is no cure for Asthma, but the symptoms can be treated and managed.


Asthma is a long-term disease- it is there all the time even when a person doesn’t experience the symptoms. To stay safe and healthy, proper Asthma management includes: working with your doctor, and other health care practitioners to control symptoms; following a written Asthma Action Plan; avoiding triggers such as smoke, cold air, etc.; using Asthma medication(s) as prescribed by your health care practitioner; and knowing what to do in the event of an Asthma emergency (Asthma attack). See your Walsh’s Pharmacy pharmacist for information about your management options.


Website Links:


The Canadian Lung Association:

Asthma Society of Canada:

Public Heath Agency of Canada:

Health Canada:



Health & Lifestyle… we are always available to discuss any health-related questions or concerns you may have. See your pharmacist at Walsh’s Pharmacy today.

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Walsh's Pharmacy Ltd
 200 George St, Arthur,
 Ontario, Canada,  N0G 1A0
Business Hours

Accreditation Number: 13862