This publication was written by the American Academy of Pediatrics to inform parents about asthma. It includes information about asthma symptoms, triggers, treatments, medicines, and how to communicate with your child's school.

Asthma is a chronic disease of the airways in the lungs. The airways are very sensitive and may be inflamed even though symptoms are not always present. The degree and severity of airway irritation varies over time. One of the most important goals of asthma treatment is to control the irritation in the airways and the symptoms that result.

In an asthma "attack," the airways become narrowed or blocked. The inner lining of the airways becomes inflamed (swollen and irritated) and the outer muscles tighten around the airways, making breathing difficult. The good news is that this can be treated and controlled.

Asthma is the most common serious chronic disease of childhood. It is one of the main...

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