Did you know that every year more people develop asthma? Or that Maine is on the top ten list of number of adults with asthma? More than 100,000 adults in Maine have asthma and more than 22,000 children.

Years ago, an allergist explained to me that trying to breathe during an asthma episode is like trying to breathe through a straw when the end has been pinched shut. That image stuck. 


What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and leads to breathing problems, including coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and trouble sleeping. According to the  Maine CDC Asthma Prevention and Control Program, “In most cases, the cause is unknown and there is no known cure. Asthma can be controlled and treated.”

What triggers an asthma attack?

People with asthma each have their own triggers. For instance, pollen may set off an attack for one person, but not another.  Common triggers include:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Outdoor air pollution
  • Mold
  • Cleaning agents
  • Dust mites
  • Strong smells from perfumes and cologne

Tips on controlling asthma

asthma-info-controlCreating a personal asthma action plan

If you look at #3 on the tip sheet above, it says have a written asthma action plan. Basically, what the plan should include is instructions on what medications to use and how often and what to do if your symptoms get worse.  Here’s a sample plan.

Maine.gov asthma action plan

You can download action forms and get other information about asthma on the Maine CDC website.