5 Myths About Asthma

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Elizabeth Hanes, RN on September 16, 2021
  • Serious Child
    Common Asthma Myths Debunked
    About one in 10 children have asthma, an inflammatory condition that constricts the airways and makes it difficult to breathe. And adults can develop asthma, too. Perhaps because the disease is not uncommon, myths abound regarding asthma treatment and risk factors. Well-meaning people may offer you advice on how to best treat your child’s asthma, but are their recommendations based on science or on misconceptions? Equip yourself with the facts so you can debunk these common asthma myths and manage the condition effectively.
  • Woman having cup of coffee outdoors
    Myth No. 1: Most children grow out of asthma.
    Many people who had asthma as a child show no signs of the condition in middle age, leading people to believe it’s possible to “grow out of” asthma. This is simply not the case. Asthma is a chronic medical condition in which the airways overreact to certain stimuli. As a child grows, his or her airways become larger, which may make asthma symptoms appear to diminish or go away. However, an asthma attack can occur at any time, even if an adult has not had an asthma episode since childhood.
  • Female doctor
    Myth No. 3: Asthma is all in a person’s head.
    Some people think asthma is an anxiety disorder. Nothing could be further from the truth. Asthma is a medical condition that causes inflammation throughout the body. An “asthma attack” consists of a very specific, two-part physical response to a trigger, such as pollen, dust, or even cold air. The trigger causes the body to overreact by constricting the airways and causing bronchial tissues to swell. When this happens, air cannot easily pass into and out of the lungs. Asthma is a very real medical condition, not a psychological disorder.
  • group of inhalers for asthma
    Myth No. 4: Inhaled steroid medications for asthma will stunt your child’s growth.
    Inhaled corticosteroid medications are one of the most common treatments for asthma. Yet perhaps because the medication’s name contains the word “steroid,” some people believe these drugs are dangerous for children to use and will prevent them from achieving their full height. Research shows this is not true. In fact, studies have shown that children who are under-treated for asthma may be of shorter stature than their peers. Inhaled corticosteroids not only are safe for long-term use in children but may literally save their lives by preventing severe asthma attacks.
  • woman-on-beach-using-inhaler
    Myth No. 5: Exercise is bad for people with asthma.
    Exercise is important for everyone, including people with asthma. It’s true that exercise can cause asthma to flare up in some people. However, these effects usually can be minimized by taking certain precautions. For some people, warming up slowly before engaging in vigorous exercise helps reduce their chance of coughing or wheezing. For others, wearing a face covering when exercising in cold weather helps. Medications also can be taken shortly before exercising to keep the airways open. Asthma should not be an excuse to refrain from engaging in a healthy, active lifestyle.
Get the Facts Behind These 5 Common Asthma Myths
  1. Asthma myths and facts. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. http://www.chop.edu/news/asthma-myths-and-facts
  2. Asthma statistics. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/about-aaaai/newsroom/asthma-statistics
  3. Seven asthma myths and facts you need to know. University of Virginia Health System. http://blog.uvahealth.com/2012/09/26/seven-asthma-myths-and-facts-you-need-to-know/
  4. Myths and facts of asthma. Utah Department of Health. https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiG0bC_kJPV...
  5. Asthma. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/asthma.html
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Last Review Date: 2021 Sep 16
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.