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Asthma is the most common long-term disease of children, but adults have asthma, too. Asthma causes repeated episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and nighttime or early morning coughing. If you have asthma, you have it all the time, but you will have asthma attacks only when something bothers your lungs. You can control your asthma by knowing the warning signs of an attack, staying away from things that trigger an attack, and following the advice of your health-care provider. When you control your asthma, you won’t have symptoms like wheezing or coughing; you’ll sleep better; you won’t miss work or school; you can take part in all physical activities; and you won’t have to go to the hospital. To learn more about how you can control your asthma, visit CDC’s asthma site.

Asthma can be hard to diagnose, especially in children less than 5 years of age. In most cases, we don’t know what causes asthma, and we don’t know how to cure it. If someone in your family has asthma, you are more likely to have it. Regular physical checkups that include checking your lung function and checking for allergies can help your health-care provider make the right diagnosis. With your health-care provider’s help, you can make your own asthma management plan so that you know what to do based on your own symptoms. The important thing to remember is that you can control your asthma.

The Task Force on Community Preventive Services, an independent, nonfederal, volunteer body of public health and prevention experts appointed by the Director of CDC, recently recommended the use of home-based multi-trigger, multicomponent interventions with an environmental focus for children and adolescents with asthma. These interventions involve home visits by trained personnel to conduct two or more activities.

To see how asthma in your state compares to asthma in other states, visit our Prevalence Tables and Maps. To learn more about how asthma hospitalization in your area compares to other parts of the country, check out the Environmental Public Health Tracking Network.

Tuesday, May 4th is World Asthma Day.