Allernet > Newsletter > Allergy & Asthma Quiz


  1. Asthma usually leads to permanent damage of the lungs.
  2. Answer

    TRUE. (if not treated) Asthma can definitely result in permanent damage to the lungs if it is not properly diagnosed and treated. Asthma specialists used to believe that asthma was totally different than emphysema. Recent studies have proven, however, that if the inflammation within the lungs of asthma patients is not controlled, then permanent damage may occur.

    The best treatment of asthma is an accurate diagnosis. Every patient with asthma should be seen by an allergy and asthma specialist to determine the exact causes of the patients' symptoms.

  3. Children’s asthma is commonly caused by allergy.
  4. Answer

    TRUE. Allergy is the most common cause of asthma in children. At age two years and under, allergic reactions to viruses are the most frequent cause of asthmatic reactions. These children wheeze with viral infections in the chest. After the age of two years, inhalant aeroallergens from both indoor and outdoor sources may induce an allergic reaction within the lungs, which immune reaction is then referred to as asthma.

  5. A child whose asthma is under control will grow and develop normally.
  6. Answer

    TRUE. The reverse is also true. Normal growth and development will not occur if a child has asthma that is poorly controlled. Breathing normally is very important for normal growth.

  7. Infections, like colds and sore throats, can start or worsen asthma symptoms.
  8. Answer

    TRUE. The lungs of patients with asthma are irritable and hyper responsive. Infections, cold air inhalation, and other irritants to the lungs may result in asthma symptoms.

  9. Even if a child with asthma feels fine, wheezing can occur with normal activity such as walking, laughing or climbing stairs.
  10. Answer

    TRUE. It takes about a 25% drop in your lung function before you will feel short of breath. This means that even if an asthma patient feels "fine", the asthma immune reaction within the lungs is still taking place and must be treated. Many patients benefit from using a meter called a peak flow meter that can help to alert the asthma patient of the fact that their lungs are not functioning as good as they could with additional use of appropriate medicines.

  11. Asthma tends to run in families.
  12. Answer

    TRUE. The genetic trait of asthma may occur more commonly within certain families. It appears that there are at least two genes that help to produce an asthmatic patient. One gene enhances reactivity within the bronchial tubes, and yet another one enhances allergy immune reactions. If you are unfortunate enough to have inherited both of these soon to be identified genes, then the likelihood of developing ticklish lungs, or asthma, is high.

  13. Removing whatever the child is allergic to may help to prevent asthma symptoms.
  14. Answer

    TRUE. Avoidance is the number one treatment for all allergic disorders. Fisrt, however, one must accurately identify the offending allergens by getting to a certified allergy specialist.

  15. School attendance is a good indicator of severity of asthma.
  16. Answer

    TRUE. Asthma patients will miss school and work when improperly diagnosed or when undertreated. Once a patient is placed on the correct therapy, and actually understands the whys and hows of allergy and asthma, missed school and work days should become a thing of the past.

  17. Having an asthma flare at school can make a child more apprehensive about asthma.
  18. Answer

    TRUE. Children with uncontrolled asthma are very self conscious. Taking asthma medicines properly often requires patients to inhale weird looking vapors and sprays into the lungs. This 'attitude thing' can cause the child to avoid their medicines instead of the allergens which make them sick. This can usually be overcome with special education sessions in the allergists office.

  19. Children with asthma are of similar intelligence to other children.
  20. Answer

    TRUE. Asthma does not discriminate on the basis of intelligence. Poor people do, however, have a greater chance to inhale indoor allergens from cockroach, which is now the number one cause of fatal asthma in low income communities. Access to specialty care is critical to improving the health of all asthmatics regardless of intelligence or income.

    Also, smart patients get better when they understand their disease and how the medicines work to better control it.

  21. Playing games in the rain or on a windy day increases the likelihood of an asthma attack.
  22. Answer

    TRUE. Playing outside on windy days can increase the chances of an asthmatic patient having a flare of asthma symptoms, especially during the outdoor pollen and mold seasons.

    Cool air when inhaled can trigger a spasm of the airways and may produce difficulty breathing.

  23. About 10% of children have asthma.
  24. Answer

    TRUE. Estimates are that as many as 10% of children have reactive airways disease, or asthma. Asthma is the number one cause of school absenteeism and childhood hospitalization.

  25. Bronchodilator drugs are effective in immediately reversing asthma symptoms.
  26. Answer

    TRUE. Bronchodilators open up the constricted airways of asthmatic patients. The time for the inhaled bronchodilators to become effective varies between patients, and will depend upon proper inhaler technique. The common inhaler albuterol will peak after about 20 minutes following inhalation.

  27. Some asthma medicines can cause behavior problems.
  28. Answer

    TRUE. Some medicines that are used to treat asthma a related to adrenaline, and therefore, some patients will experience a sense of agitation or restlessness. Children are more sensitive and more difficult to manage with regard to this stimulant effect, especially since children and young adults do not always tell it the way it is The general rule in medicine is that if you are having side effects from a medicine, your body may not really need the drug.

    The most common asthma medicines that cause mood changes are systemic steroids (prednisone, cortisone) and bronchodilators (isoprel, theophylline). Ask your doctor what you or your family member should do if you believe that this side stimulant or mood altering effect is occurring.

  29. Most asthma attacks can be prevented with the use of appropriate medication.
  30. Answer

    TRUE. Most asthma attacks can be prevented. Smart patients get better because they know what their medicines are supposed to do and how to best use them. The most common error made by asthma sufferers is poor inhaler technique. Be absolutely certain that you and your children demonstrate for your doctor the correct use of these important medicines!

  31. Antibiotics are useful in treating asthma.
  32. Answer

    TRICKY!! TRUE AND FALSE. Antibiotics are drugs that kill invading bacteria. Some years ago, we thought that patients commonly experienced allergic reactions to bacteria. For that reason, asthma flares were always treated by using antibiotics and other medicines as well.

    Today, all allergy and asthma specialists agree that the antibiotics do not do anything to change the allergic reaction in the lungs.

    However, we have learned in the past several years that up to 6 in 10 children who have a flare of asthma also have infections in their sinuses. So, it is True that antibiotic help to treat the asthmatic patient who is also experiencing a sinus infection, and it is False to think that antibiotics are helpful in asthma therapy when there is no bacterial infection to treat.

    I have avoided answering the question as to whether bacterial allergy exists, since this is still poorly understood. Clearly, some rare patients can be allergic to bacterial products however.

  33. In general, self-administration of asthma medications by students with asthma is dangerous.
  34. Answer

    FALSE. Asthma sufferers who have been evaluated and educated by allergy and asthma specialists may safely use their medicines at school on their own with little guidance. There should, however, be a coordinated approach by the teaching staff, the parents and the physician as to what to do if the asthmatic student is having breathing difficulties.

  35. Side affects of several asthma drugs include increased heart rate and trembling hands.
  36. Answer

    TRUE. Asthma therapies commonly use agents which are related chemically to adrenaline, as discussed above. Trembling and an increased heart rate may occur, but are rarely troublesome enough to discontinue the medications.

  37. Inhaled steroids have severe side effects.
  38. Answer

    FALSE. Steroids are extremely safe and for many asthma patients an absolute necessity.

    Side effects from steroids are dose dependent. The greater the dose you take, the greater is the risk of experiencing steroid side effects. Fortunately, inhaled steroid are low enough in concentration that only rarely will an asthma patient have significant side effects.

    It is important to emphasize that inhaled steroids are safe in young children. Newer inhaled steroids will soon be available in the USA that are not taken into the body (budesonide). They work and stay within the lungs. Even so, the inhaled steroids currently available are extremely safe and effective in controlling the allergic reactions within the lungs of asthmatics.

  39. The best approach to exercise-induced asthma is to treat the symptoms only if they occur.
  40. Answer

    FALSE. Exercise induced asthma is very common, but asthma should not hold you back from doing what you want to do. For example, Amy Van Dyken from Denver, Colorado won 4 Gold Medals at the summer Olympics in swimming even though she has active asthma.

    Bronchodilators and inhale cromolyn sodium are very effective in PREVENTING asthma symptoms brought on by exercise. Funny thing though, these and other medicines only work if the patient uses them on time and with proper inhaler technique.

  41. Full participation in games should be encouraged for children with asthma.
  42. Answer

    TRUE. Children with undiagnosed asthma may not like to play actively, as in running sports due to their feeling "clogged up" or feeling tight in the chest and short of breath.

    These are the children that most need our attention since they are beginning to develop their interest at a young age. Undiagnosed asthmatic kids are usually bookworms or inactive. What a difference it makes when they can breath and run at the same time!! Ask your doctor if you think your child may have shortness of breath with exercise. There are tests available.

  43. Wheezing or coughing with exercise suggests asthma.
  44. Answer

    TRUE. If a person wheezes or has a tight chest when exercising or even when breathing hard, it does suggest the possibility of asthma, or reactive airways disease.

    Many patients are given inhaled bronchodilators to "try" by their family physicians when they express these complaints to their doctor. Although the physician means well, this is really not a good idea. The best treatment can only be given when an exact diagnosis is made.

    Patients who have symptoms suggesting asthma should have a breathing test (lung function studies) before and after exercise to prove that their symptoms are due to asthma.

    Once a diagnosis of asthma is proven by the breathing tests, it is a good idea to also prove that the medication you are being given actually works for you. I once had a patient who complained that the inhaler that I gave to him made him feel worse instead of better. To prove him wrong, I had him perform breathing tests before and after using his bronchodilator. You guessed it. The medicine actually did make him close down his lungs!! This patient taught me two things: first, a physician should listen to his patients since patients know their bodies better than their doctor (they spend 24 hours a day with themselves), and secondly, all patients are unique. What works for one patient may not be as effective for another.

  45. Children with asthma are generally less competent at physical sports than children without asthma.
  46. Answer

    FALSE. Children with asthma are otherwise 'normal' kids. Asthma is an immunologic illness, not a mental condition! It is true that if you are short of breath that you may become somewhat anxious, but anxiety does not cause the illness in the first place!

  47. Taking appropriate medications prior to activity should prevent an asthma attack.
  48. Answer

    TRUE. This point is emphasized again here because half of the children with exercise induced asthma forget to take their inhalers 15-30 minutes prior to exercising. Teenagers sometimes feel sensitive and awkward about taking their asthma medicines in front of their peers since they want to be like everyone else. Little do they realize that no one is really like 'every one else'.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about allergy and asthma by taking this quiz.

If you have questions that were not addressed here, feel free to ask your own doctor or e-mail me here at Please understand that I may use your questions on our web site for the benefit of others who may have similar concerns.

Stevce Kagen, MD