BETHESDA, Md., July 18 (UPI) -- Asthmatic people can reduce the risk of asthma attack by being careful to avoid places where there's heavy tobacco smoke, a U.S. official says.
Asthma is a chronic disease that narrows the airways of the lungs, making it difficult to get air in, and out -- and hard to breathe. It can begin as early as childhood.
"Asthma attacks occur when people react to agents or allergens that lead to this narrowing of the airway, resulting in inflammation and swelling making it very difficult to move air in and out," said Dr. James Kiley at the National Institutes of Health.
Tobacco smoke, cold air, chemicals, perfumes, paint odors, hair sprays and air pollution are irritants that can cause inflammation in the lungs and result in asthma symptoms, Kiley said.
Even thought there is no cure for asthma, it can be treated effectively, Kiley advised.
"Use the medicines as prescribed. Don't walk into places where there's heavy tobacco smoke or allergens or things like that, when you know that's going to trip off your asthma," Kiley said. "And schedule regular asthma visits with your physician."