Asthma myths

Once some myths are dispelled, asthma sufferers can breathe easier.

By Donna Fleming
The myth: Asthma can be cured.
The truth: Unfortunately, it can’t. But the symptoms can be controlled.
The myth: Asthma is a psychological condition.
The truth: Asthma is not in your head – it’s in your lungs. Some people believe asthma can be caused by getting emotionally upset, but that’s not the case. Asthma is due to lung problems and the immune system’s over-reaction to your environment. However, for some people, getting very emotional may lead to a flare-up.
The myth: Asthma medication is addictive.
The truth: Inhalers are not habit-forming. You’re using them to prevent attacks and gain control of symptoms. Because asthma is a chronic condition, you may have to use them long-term, but that doesn’t mean you are addicted.
The myth: Kids can grow out of asthma.
The truth: In some cases, children with asthma may find the condition becomes largely inactive during their teenage years, but it can recur any time in adulthood.
The myth: Asthma comes and goes.
The truth: The symptoms, such as wheezing, tightness in your chest, coughing and breathlessness, may seem to abate, but if you’re asthmatic, the condition is still there, even at times when you feel fine.
The myth: If you take asthma medication long-term, it will lose its effectiveness.
The truth: Asthma medication is designed for its specific purpose and will continue to be effective as long as it is used correctly.
The myth: People with asthma shouldn’t exercise or play sport.
The truth: You can exercise and play sport if you have asthma, but take your preventive medication regularly. Some people benefit from using their reliever inhaler before they start exercising, and it should always be kept handy. Swimming is a particularly good form of exercise for asthmatics. But be careful if you are exercising outside in cold, dry air.
The myth: If there’s no history of asthma in your family, you won’t get it.
The truth: You don’t need a family history to have asthma, but people who have asthmatic family members are likelier to get it.
The myth: If you didn’t have asthma as a child you won’t get it when you’re an adult.
The truth: You can have adult onset asthma. It is usually persistent and permanent, and medication is needed to keep it under control.

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