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About Asthma

Understand asthma symptoms, triggers and how asthma is diagnosed and treated.

Asthma Symptoms

When a person has an asthma attack (a period during which asthma symptoms appear or get worse), inflamed lungs experience “bronchospasm”—a tightening of the bands of muscle surrounding the airways. This causes the lungs’ airways to become narrow or blocked, making it hard to breathe.1

Image of woman experiencing asthma symptoms

Common asthma symptoms include1:

  • Coughing (often worse at night or early in the morning)
  • Wheezing (like a whistling sound when you breathe)
  • Chest tightness (like something is sitting on your chest)
  • Shortness of breath (like you can’t catch your breath or get air out of your lungs)

Asthma Triggers

Asthma triggers are things in the environment that can make asthma symptoms worse.

There are many asthma triggers that cause inflammation in both the small and large airways—the branches that carry air into the lungs.

Common asthma triggers include:

  • Pollen and asthma icon
  • Asthma and smoking icon
  • Dog and Cat asthma icon
    Pet dander
  • Exercise induced asthma icon
  • Cold and flu and asthma icon
    Colds or the flu
  • Dust and asthma icon
  • Mold and asthma icon
  • Asthma and cold air icon
    Changes in weather
  • Laughter induced asthma icon
    Laughing or crying hard
  • Chemical-induced-asthma-icon
    Airborne chemicals

Receiving an Asthma Diagnosis

You may receive an asthma diagnosis from your doctor based on your medical and family history, a physical exam, or test results.

Medical and family histories

Your doctor will want to know your or your child’s medical history, and whether any family members have asthma or allergies. Your doctor may also recommend an allergy test to find out which allergens (such as pollen, pet dander and dust), if any, are asthma triggers.

Physical exam

Your doctor may listen to your breathing for signs of asthma or allergies. These signs include wheezing, a runny nose or swollen nasal passages, and skin rash. You can still have asthma even if these signs aren’t present.

Diagnostic tests

Certain tests may be performed in the doctor’s office, to help provide you with more information on your condition. These tests may include:

  • Spirometry: Determines how much air you can exhale from your lungs.
  • Bronchoprovocation: Measures the sensitivity in your airways.
  • IOS: A quick and easy diagnostic asthma test that works well for children.
  • FeNO (fractional exhaled nitric oxide): A noninvasive and easily available method for measuring inflammation.
  • Allergy test: Determines which allergens (such as pollen, pet dander and dust), if any, are asthma triggers.
  • Additional tests: Your doctor may ask for a test to show whether another condition is present with symptoms similar to those found in asthma. A chest X-ray or an EKG (electrocardiogram) may also be required to find out whether a foreign object in the airways or another disease might be causing symptoms.

Types of Asthma Medications

Maintenance medications

A maintenance inhaler, like QVAR RediHaler, can help control and prevent asthma symptoms. In order for these medicines to be effective, they should be taken every day.

Rescue medications (quick-relief)

When asthma symptoms occur, you may need immediate help. Rescue inhalers (also known as quick-relief inhalers) deliver medicine that works quickly to relax smooth muscles around the airways. This allows the airways to open so air can flow more freely. QVAR RediHaler is not a rescue medication.

Image of doctor explaining asthma treatment

Asthma Action Plan: Maintaining control starts with a plan

Whether your asthma is mild or severe, it’s important to have an Asthma Action Plan to help maintain control over asthma symptoms.

An Asthma Action Plan describes how to manage asthma and follow an asthma treatment plan. It includes information about asthma medications, including:

Controller medication:

  • What medicine it contains
  • How much to take
  • When to take it

Rescue (quick-relief) inhaler:

  • What medicine it contains
  • How much to take
  • When to take it
  • When and how much to take if you or your child has EIB (exercise-induced bronchospasm)

The Asthma Action Plan also includes information about what to do in case of a serious asthma attack, or if emergency treatment is necessary. Be sure to personalize the plan with the help of your healthcare provider.

Download an Asthma Action Plan based on guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

QVAR Redihaler can help prevent asthma symptoms image

Talk to your doctor to see if QVAR RediHaler may be right for you

QVAR RediHaler can help prevent asthma symptoms, reduce the risk of asthma attacks, and improve lung function for many people with asthma. Click below to learn more.

  1. NHLBI Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Available at:

Important Safety Information

  • Do not use QVAR RediHaler to treat sudden severe symptoms of asthma. Always have a rescue inhaler with you to treat sudden symptoms.
  • Do not use QVAR RediHaler if you are allergic to beclomethasone dipropionate or any of the ingredients in QVAR RediHaler.
  • Do not use QVAR RediHaler more often than prescribed.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take and about all of your health conditions.
  • QVAR RediHaler may cause serious side effects, including:
    • Fungal infections (thrush) in your mouth and throat. Rinse your mouth with water without swallowing after using QVAR RediHaler to help prevent an infection in your mouth or throat.
    • Worsening asthma or sudden asthma attacks. After using your rescue inhaler, contact your healthcare provider right away if you do not get relief from your sudden asthma attacks.
    • Reduced adrenal function (adrenal insufficiency). This potentially life-threatening condition can happen when you stop taking oral corticosteroid medicines and start using inhaled corticosteroid medicines (such as QVAR RediHaler). Tell your healthcare provider right away about any signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency such as: feeling tired or exhausted (fatigue); lack of energy; low blood pressure (hypotension); dizziness or feeling faint; nausea and vomiting; or weakness.
    • Immune system effects and a higher chance for infections. Tell your healthcare provider about any signs or symptoms of infection such as: fever, chills, pain, feeling tired, body aches, nausea, or vomiting.
    • Increased wheezing (bronchospasm) right after using QVAR RediHaler. Always have a rescue inhaler with you to treat sudden wheezing.
    • Serious allergic reactions. Stop using QVAR RediHaler and call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical help right away if you get any of the following: hives; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; rash; or breathing problems.
    • Slowed growth in children. Children should have their growth checked regularly while using QVAR RediHaler.
    • Lower bone density. This may be a problem for people who already have a higher chance for low bone density (osteoporosis).
    • Eye problems. If you have had glaucoma, cataracts or blurred vision in the past, you should have regular eye exams while using QVAR RediHaler.
  • Common side effects of QVAR RediHaler include: yeast infection in the mouth (oral candidiasis); cold symptoms (upper respiratory tract infection); pain in the throat (oropharyngeal pain); pain or swelling in your nose and throat (nasopharyngitis); sinus irritation (sinusitis); and hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • These are not all the possible side effects of QVAR RediHaler. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Approved Use

  • QVAR RediHaler Inhalation Aerosol is a breath-actuated inhaled prescription medicine used as a maintenance treatment for the prevention and control of asthma in people 4 years of age and older.
  • QVAR RediHaler Inhalation Aerosol is not used to relieve sudden breathing problems and won’t replace a rescue inhaler.
  • Please see full Prescribing Information.
  • You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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