Select the first letter of the word from the list above to jump to appropriate section of the glossary.
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Airways (bronchi): The tubes that take the air from the mouth to the air-sacs in the lungs.
Allergens: Substances that cause an allergic response in some individuals, and may cause a runny nose, watery, itchy eyes, rash, or wheezing. Allergens are present in saliva, urine, and dander of warm-blooded animals such as dogs, cats, birds, and rodents. They are also present in plants.
Allergic reaction: An over-reaction of the body's defense system when exposed to substances to which it is sensitive.
Animal dander: The flakes from the skin, hair or feathers of all warm-blooded animals including dogs, cats, birds, and rodents.
Anti-inflammatory drugs: Medications that prevent or reduce swelling in the airways.
Asthma: A condition of chronic inflammation and constriction or narrowing of the airways, making breathing difficult.
Bronchodilator: A type of medication that relaxes the muscles surrounding the airways. It helps breathing and relieves asthma symptoms.
Corticosteroids (steroids): Medications used to treat or to prevent asthma episodes by reducing inflammation or swelling in the airways.
Cough: To expel air from the lungs suddenly with an explosive noise.
Dust mite: A tiny microscopic bug found in dust. Exposure to dust mites may trigger an asthma attack.
Flow Meter: A device for measuring how fast people can breathe out.
Green Zone: A measurement on the peak flow meter that indicates that asthma is under control. You can reach the green zone when your peak flow is 80-100% of your personal best. When you are in the green zone, you have no symptoms of an asthma episode.
HEPA filter: A High Efficiency Particulate Air filter that can be used with a vacuum cleaner to decrease exposure to dust and animal dander.
Metered Dose Inhaler (MDI): A device for delivering measured doses of medication in the form of a fine spray.
Nebulizer: A machine that turns liquid medication into a mist for inhaling.
Normal Breathing: When you breathe in, air is taken in through the nose and mouth. It goes down the windpipe, through the airways, and into the air sacs. When you breathe out, stale air leaves the lungs in the reverse order. There is no difficulty or feeling of shortness of breath with normal breathing.
Red Zone: This is an emergency!! The red zone is a measurement on the peak flow meter that indicates that you are having a serious asthma episode. Get help. When you are in the red zone, your peak flow is below 50% of your personal best. You may be coughing, very short of breath, and/or the skin between your ribs and neck may be pulled in tight.
SOB: Shortness of breath; difficulty breathing.
Spacer: An attachment that makes it easier to inhale medication from a metered dose inhaler.
Spirometry: A test that measures the volume and flow of air breathed out of the lungs.
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Theophylline: A type of asthma medication that relaxes the muscles surrounding the airways. Theophylline comes in three forms: tablets, capsules, and liquid.
Trigger: Something that causes and asthma attack. Many things trigger an asthma attack. Triggers include allergies, infections, irritants in the air, cold dry air and changes in the weather, exercise, hormone changes, as well as fatigue. Common triggers include cats, dogs, dust, dust mites and pollen.
Wheeze: To breathe with difficulty, usually with a whistling sound.
Yellow Zone: A measurement on the peak flow meter that is reached when your peak flow is 50-80% of your personal best. Symptoms of an asthma episode may be mild or moderate when you are in the yellow zone. You may feel short of breath, and may have wheezing, coughing or tightness in your chest.