Girl with asthma holds an inhaler near her mouth


Asthma 101: Helping kids breathe easy

Asthma is a breathing disorder that causes the small airways in your lungs to become inflamed or swollen. It may also lead to airway spasms. Both of these conditions narrow your airway and make it hard for you to breathe.

Inside the lungs are airways called breathing tubes or bronchial tubes. With asthma, some of the smallest tubes can swell and narrow, making it harder for air to get through. Kids with asthma can have trouble breathing because the airways are sensitive. 

Every person with asthma has different triggers. Some people have one or two. Others have a dozen. Triggers may change from winter to summer. Some kids even outgrow triggers as they get older. Commons asthma triggers include:

  • cigarette smoke (including secondhand smoke)
  • car exhaust and other air pollutants
  • smoke from recreational fires
  • cold air
  • chemical sprays
  • perfumes, scented deodorants and other strong odors
  • allergy triggers such as animal dander, dust, mold, pollen and mites
  • strong emotions
  • exercise, sports, work or play

Asthma can't be cured, but it can be managed. Managing asthma means doing everything you can to keep the symptoms of asthma, like wheezing and coughing, from happening.

Use our Health Powered Kids lesson, Breathe Easy: Asthma 101 and Power Chargers as guides to help your kids build awareness of, and compassion for, people who live with this chronic condition.


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