Does asthma run in the family?

Symptoms of an asthma attack include:

  • a feeling of the chest rapidly tightening
  • rapid breathing
  • a blue tint to the skin and nails
  • shortness of breath not related to physical activity
  • chest retractions
  • an inability to take a full breath

Not all people with asthma have all of these symptoms. Also, just because a person has these symptoms, it does not mean that they have asthma.


Asthma treatments aim to help a person manage the symptoms and prevent asthma attacks. Treatments may also lessen the long-term damage to the lungs that can occur with poorly controlled asthma.

A doctor may recommend a combination of treatment methods.

Long-term medical treatments for asthma can include:

  • long-term inhaled asthma control medications, including corticosteroids, combination inhalers, and bronchodilators
  • allergy medications

Doctors may also prescribe fast-acting, short-term medications for asthma attacks. These can include:

  • oral or intravenous steroids to reduce airway swelling in severe attacks
  • fast-acting bronchodilators
  • short-acting beta antagonists, such as albuterol inhalers

Also, a doctor will likely recommend that a person with asthma try some lifestyle modifications to help control their symptoms.

Lifestyle modifications that a person with asthma can try may include:

  • identifying and avoiding triggers
  • using air conditioning to avoid outdoor asthma triggers
  • cleaning the home regularly to avoid dust and mold
  • covering the mouth and nose in cold weather
  • managing stress and strong emotions


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