You cannot cure asthma, but you can control it.

You cannot cure asthma, but you can control it.

Asthma is the number one chronic disease in childhood in Maine and it affects one in every nine adults in Maine. No one knows why certain people develop asthma. But a lot is known about what makes asthma worse and how to control it.

Here are five things you should know about asthma:

1) Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease of the airways. Airways get swollen, red, and make more mucus. The muscles around the airway get tight.

2) There are two types of medications. Be sure you to know how to use them.

A. Controller: You need to use this kind of medicine every day if you have persistent asthma. (Persistent asthma: you have symptoms during the day more than two times a week, or you have symptoms at night more than two times a month, and you have several flares each year).

B. Quick-Relief: You use this medicine to help relieve your cough, wheeze or shortness of breath at the moment you have symptoms. Using a controller medicine will decrease your need for this quick-relief medicine. Call your healthcare provider if you routinely need your quick relief medicine more than twice a week. Your asthma may not be in control!

3) Allergens, environment, illness can make asthma worse. Stay away from these things and pre-treat for exercise to help control asthma.

4) Monitor symptoms (and peak flow if you have been given a peak flow meter) and keep a diary of your symptoms.

5) Use an Asthma Management Plan and have regular visits with your healthcare provider to help control asthma.