Cornell Cooperative Extension Albany County works with the Albany County Department of Health and other groups to help educate individuals about asthma.

Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs that causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. Asthma that is not well-controlled can greatly limit a person's quality of life. In 2015 an estimated 1.5 million adults and over 400,000 children had Asthma. Exacerbations are impacted by factors that include severity and control status, access to care, medication adherence, and environmental factors.

Asthma symptoms

Not everyone exhibits similar asthma symptoms. The same person’s asthma symptoms may also vary from one asthma attack to the next. Below is a list of some common asthma symptoms:

  • Coughing, especially at night
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness, pain, or pressure

Asthma Triggers

Many indoor conditions could trigger an asthma attack. Common indoor environmental asthma triggers include secondhand smoke, dust mites, pets, molds, cockroaches and pests.

Controlling Asthma

There are two types of asthma medications: relievers and controllers. Everyone with asthma should have a reliever medicine. Relievers are also called rescue medicines. Some people with asthma also need a controller medicine, which needs to be taken every day. Individuals should always rinse their mouth after using an inhaled controller medicine. People that use an inhaler should always use a spacer with their inhalers so more medicine gets into their lungs.

Asthma Action Plan

This is a comprehensive plan that patients make with their doctor or nurse practitioner. An asthma action plan helps patients know what to do when they have asthma symptoms, reminds them when to take controller medicines, helps them decide when to use their reliever medicine, and when they need to see their doctor. An asthma plan has all information on one page. Children should have a copy at home, at school, and with caregivers. A sample asthma action plan can be found at

Asthma Resources

Last updated June 9, 2021