Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Pulmonology

  • Breathing can be hard after you've had surgery, when you have a lung disease like COPD, or if you're on bed rest. You may find that you can only take small, shallow breaths. Breathing this way makes it harder to get air into your lungs and can cause fluid and mucus to build up in your lungs. This could cause a serious...

  • Diseases affecting the lungs—such as asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—share many of the same medicines. These medicines are often delivered through a metered-dose inhaler (MDI). Using an MDI: Delivers most of a measured dose of medicine directly to your lungs...

  • Support groups provide encouragement when you have decided to quit smoking. Support groups can: Increase your chances of success. Keep you motivated. Allow you to express your feelings with others who understand. Give you hope and the confidence to...

  • The habit of smoking is very strong: you puff on a cigarette hundreds of times each and every day—and for many years. When people who have smoked for a long time stop, they find it strange to have nothing in their hands or mouths. They have become so accustomed to handling cigarettes that their hands seek cigarettes...

  • Most lung cancer is caused by smoking. After you quit, your risk for lung cancer drops gradually. By 10 years, your risk will be about half of what it would have been if you had continued to smoke. This risk continues to decline as the number of years of not smoking increases. Two other lung diseases related to smoking...

  • A nicotine patch looks like an oversized adhesive bandage. The outer part of the patch sticks to your skin, while the inner portion presses against and slowly releases nicotine into your skin. See a picture of how to use these patches to help you quit smoking or stop using smokeless tobacco. Nicotine patches are...

  • Belly-breathing fills your lungs fully, slows your breathing rate, and helps you relax. Place one hand on your belly just below the ribs and the other hand on your chest. You can do this while standing, but it may be more comfortable while you are...

  • Rapid sputum tests are used to diagnose tuberculosis (TB) when other tests show that a person probably has TB. Rapid sputum tests are also called nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs). One of the best ways to diagnose TB is through a sputum...

  • Learn what's going on in the lungs that can make it hard to breathe when you have asthma.

  • Learn three ways to get mucus out of your lungs so you can breathe easier.

  • Hear how four people kept their friends and sense of self when they quit smoking.

  • Learn how you can stay as active and healthy as possible with COPD.

  • Learn some of the many immediate and long-term health benefits of quitting smoking.

  • Learn how to care for a central or PICC IV line at home.

  • Learn about treatment choices for sleep apnea.

  • It's important that you know how to treat your COPD. This is true for everyday care and for when your symptoms get worse. It's also very important that your family, friends, and caregivers know what to do. If you can't care for yourself in an emergency, others need to know how they can help you. Fill out this action...

  • Learn what an anticoagulant (blood thinner) shot is, and see how to give yourself an injection.

  • You can help prevent the flu by getting a flu vaccine every year, as soon as it is available. The vaccine prevents most cases of the flu. But even when the vaccine doesn't prevent the flu, it can make symptoms less severe and reduce the chance of...

  • Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the arteries of your lungs. This may also be called pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). These arteries carry blood from the heart to the lungs, where the blood picks up oxygen. The walls of the...

  • Screening tests help your doctor look for a problem before you have symptoms. Lung cancer screening is a way to find some lung cancers early, when a cure is more likely and when cancer is more treatable. If your doctor recommends lung cancer screening, you'll have a low-dose CT scan of your chest once a year. A special...

  • It can be hard to know which treatments you may or may not want near the end of life. Learning more can help.

  • Pleural effusion (say "PLER-uhl eh-FYOO-zhun") is the buildup of fluid in the space between tissues lining the lungs and chest wall (pleural space). Because of the fluid buildup, the lungs may not be able to expand completely, and that can make it hard for you to breathe. The lung, or part of it, may collapse. How is...

  • Learn why you need to keep using your corticosteroid inhaler and how to make it easier to use.

  • A diagnosis of CF is life-changing. But your child can still have a fulfilling life.

  • Home treatment can help your child live longer. It's not always easy, but you can do it. Here's how.

  • Learn how to talk to your child about bronchoscopy, how to prepare, and how it's done.

  • Learn about asthma tests for children.

  • Learn about spirometry tests for children.

  • This article covers the basics of COVID-19, including common symptoms, treatment, the course of the disease, and how to care for yourself.

  • Learn ways to deal with cravings when you're trying to quit.

  • Learn what to think about and plan for when you're getting ready to quit smoking.

  • Learn how to move ahead with your plan to quit smoking after having a smoking relapse.

  • Find out what COVID-19 is, how it's spread, its symptoms, and how to protect yourself and others.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself if you have COVID-19 and find out ways to prevent spreading it to others.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and find out ways to prevent spreading it to others.

  • Learn what social distancing means and why it's important to keep your distance.

  • Discover things you can do to while keeping a social distance.

  • Learn the 5 steps to hand-washing.

  • The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus. It is an illness that was first found in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has since spread worldwide. The virus can cause fever, cough, and trouble breathing. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and make it hard to breathe without help. It can cause...

  • During the coronavirus outbreak, learn what to do if you do if you feel sick.

  • Learn how lung surgery is done and what you can do to prepare.

  • Learn how you'll feel after lung surgery and how to take care of yourself at home.

  • Learn the difference between symptoms of the flu and COVID-19.

  • This article helps readers understand when a home pulse oximeter is helpful for people who have COVID-19 and how to use it.

  • What is smokeless tobacco? Smokeless tobacco comes in many forms, such as snuff, chewing tobacco, and snus . Snuff is finely ground tobacco sold in cans or pouches. Most of the time, snuff is used by putting a "pinch" or "dip" between the lower lip or cheek and the gum. Chewing tobacco is...

  • Influenza vaccine can prevent influenza (flu). Flu is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May. Anyone can get the flu, but it is more dangerous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women...

  • Influenza vaccine can prevent influenza (flu). Flu is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May. Anyone can get the flu, but it is more dangerous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women...

  • If you have COPD, you know how scary it can be to feel short of breath. Whether you just found out that you have COPD or you've been living with it for a while, you will find helpful information here. Our topics will teach you about the disease and give you some tips on breathing easier. Get the information you need...

  • Has info on general coughs, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and COPD. Also has chest X-ray info and interactive topics on bronchitis and croup.

  • Provides links to how-to information about asthma. Includes info on asthma in teens and adults, using an asthma action plan, and using inhalers.

  • Links to information on colds and flu. Covers at-home treatment for cold and flu symptoms, the flu vaccine, prevention of colds and flu, and medicines for the flu.

  • Briefly discusses causes of coughs, including common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, GERD, COPD, choking, or chemicals in the air. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment and prevention tips.

  • Briefly discusses causes of coughs in children, including common cold, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, allergies, choking, or chemicals in the air. Offers interactive tool to help decide when to seek care. Also offers home treatment and prevention tips.

  • Guides through decision to have surgery for sleep apnea. Discusses problems like depression and high blood pressure associated with lack of treatment. Covers alternatives to surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Guides through decision to have sleep study to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. Includes pros such as diagnosis that can lead to treatment. Also offers cons such as cost. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Forced expiratory volume (FEV) measures how much air a person can exhale during a forced breath. The amount of air exhaled may be measured during the first (FEV1), second (FEV2), and/or third seconds (FEV3) of the forced breath. Forced vital capacity (FVC) is the total amount of air exhaled during the FEV test...

  • Babies and small children need early treatment for asthma symptoms to prevent severe breathing problems. They may have more serious problems than adults because their bronchial tubes are smaller. Although it may appear that occasional treatment with medicines for children who have mild asthma is enough, one review...

  • Medicines may stop a cluster headache after it starts and prevent more headaches from occurring. Finding the right medicine can take some time. You may need a combination of medicines to effectively treat your cluster headaches. Treatments most...

  • Blood thinners are medicines that help prevent blood clots. Although they are called blood thinners, they don't really thin the blood. They slow down the time it takes for a blood clot to form. You have to be careful when you take blood thinner medicines. They can raise the risk of serious bleeding. But you can do...

  • Several medicines can help you stop smoking. You can take medicine to reduce your craving for nicotine. You also can use nicotine replacement products to reduce cravings and give you smaller and smaller amounts of nicotine. Your doctor can help you...

  • What is sarcoidosis? Sarcoidosis (say "sar-koy-DOH-sus") is a rare disease that creates tiny lumps of cells throughout the body. These lumps, called granulomas, are too small to see or feel. They can form anywhere on the inside or outside of the body and can cause permanent scar tissue. They often form in the lungs...

  • Learn the correct way to use a spacer with your inhaler.

  • Learn how following an asthma action plan can help you take control of your asthma.

  • Hear how others with asthma have learned to control their symptoms.

  • Learn common myths about inhaled steroids, which are some of the best medicines for controlling asthma.

  • Learn how to avoid common asthma triggers to better control your symptoms.

  • Learn how to avoid the things that make your COPD symptoms worse.

  • Learn how COPD affects your lungs and makes it hard to breathe.

  • Learn how to use an incentive spirometer to improve the health of your lungs.

  • What is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)? Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a lung problem. It happens when fluid builds up in the lungs, causing breathing failure and low oxygen levels in the blood. ARDS is life-threatening, because it keeps organs like the brain and kidneys from getting the...

  • What are pressure injuries from scuba diving? Scuba diving can expose you to high waves and dangerous sea life. But the more likely dangers are those you can't see. You can be injured if your body isn't able to adjust to the increasing and decreasing pressure of the water as you breathe compressed air. Pressure...

  • What is near-drowning? Near-drowning is a common but out-of-date phrase for surviving a drowning event. Drowning happens when a person is underwater and breathes water into the lungs. The airway (larynx) can spasm and close, or water can damage the lungs and keep them from taking in oxygen. In either...

  • Learn how it may take a few attempts before you quit smoking for good.

  • Learn about products and medicines that can take the edge off nicotine cravings.

  • Learn why nicotine makes it hard to quit smoking and how it can be overcome.

  • Learn why it matters that your reason for quitting comes from inside you.

  • Learn why your controller medicines are so important.

  • Learn how to get past those things that make you want to smoke by replacing them with healthier things.

  • Learn how medicine can double or triple your chances of stopping smoking.

  • Imagine your life without cigarettes.

  • Bronchiectasis (say "brawn-kee-ECK-tuh-sus") is a lung problem in which the breathing tubes (airways) in the lungs are stretched and become larger. It starts when your airways are damaged. The damage may be caused by another health problem—usually...

  • Learn how to take oxygen along when you travel by air, train, or cruise ship.

  • Learn how good nutrition can give you energy and help you stay healthy.

  • Learn how to safely use oxygen in your home.

  • Learn some exercises for your lungs to make it easier to breathe.

  • Try a few gentle and safe exercises to build your strength.

  • Learn the correct way to use an inhaler that doesn't have a spacer.

  • Learn how to use a mask spacer to give a child an inhaled asthma medicine.

  • Learn the right way to use a dry powder inhaler to help control your asthma.

  • Learn how to use a peak flow meter to check how well your lungs are working.

  • When you spend time around an animal—whether it's a pet, a farm animal, or a wild animal—there's a chance you can pick up an infection. An infection you get from an animal is called a zoonosis (say "zoh-uh-NOH-sus"). Some infections can seem mild,...

  • Learn how to use a rubber bulb to remove mucus from a baby's nose.

  • Learn how to use home treatment to stop a cough from croup.

  • Learn how to take care of your skin and your oxygen nosepiece.

  • Asthma is more than a day-to-day problem that makes your life difficult. Over time it damages your airways and lungs. That damage can lead to serious health problems. So it's important to keep your asthma under control with medicine. What are the types of asthma medicine? Daily controller medicine prevents asthma...

  • Learn how following an asthma action plan can help you control your child's asthma.

  • Learn why a long-acting bronchodilator might be added to your child's asthma medicine.

  • Learn how to tell when your child is using a rescue inhaler too often.

  • Learn how other people quit smoking by using nicotine replacement and other medicines.

  • Find out the important things that happen for you and others when you get the flu vaccine.

  • Practice talking to your smoking friends about your decision to quit.

  • Learn how taking COPD medicines correctly helps prevent flare-ups and trips to the hospital.

  • Learn ways to prevent a return trip to the emergency room for your child with asthma.

  • Learn ways to encourage your young child to take asthma medicine with a nebulizer.

  • Learn how to help your child deal with asthma and asthma treatments.

  • Learn how expressing your negative feelings about asthma will help you feel better.

  • Learn how your child should use an inhaler without a spacer.

  • Learn how your child should use an inhaler with a spacer.

  • Learn how to use a nebulizer, with a face mask, on your child.

  • Learn why you probably don't need an antibiotic when you have acute bronchitis.

  • Learn why antibiotics shouldn't be prescribed to children who have a cold or flu.

  • Learn how to use a nebulizer correctly.

  • Learn what many people tell themselves about a cough that won't go away.

  • Learn how clot-busting medicines are used for emergencies like stroke and heart attack.

  • Find motivation to quit by comparing what you tell yourself about smoking and what the facts are.

  • Commit to taking small steps to stay active with COPD.

  • Learn how continuing to smoke will affect your COPD symptoms.

  • Hear how one man with COPD finally quit after many years of smoking.

  • Cooking dinner, putting away laundry, or even just walking across your living room can be exhausting when you have COPD, heart failure, or another long-term (chronic) condition. You may feel at times as though you've lost your ability to live your...

  • Learn how to assess the things that led to a slip-up and get back on track with quitting.

  • Learn how the pneumococcal vaccine protects you from serious infections.

  • A nebulizer is a tool that delivers liquid medicine as a fine mist. You breathe in the medicine through a mouthpiece or face mask. This sends the medicine directly to your airways and lungs. Depending on your needs, you can get a small, portable...

  • Get motivated to quit by thinking about the example you are setting for your child.

  • Screening tests help your doctor look for a problem before you have symptoms. This increases your chances of finding the problem early, when it's more treatable. Studies don't show that routine screening for lung cancer is right for most people. But it may help those who have the highest risk for lung cancer—people...

  • Learn what sleep apnea is and why it's important to treat it.

  • Learn how CPAP works and how to use a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea.

  • Learn ways to get past common problems with using CPAP.

  • Learn what you can do at home to help yourself get better from pneumonia.

  • Learn about the different ways that sleep apnea can affect the quality of your life.

  • Learn about the benefits of treating sleep apnea.

  • A nicotine test measures the level of nicotine—or the chemicals it produces—in your body. It's usually done by testing a sample of your blood or urine. The test is used to see if you smoke or use other forms of tobacco. All forms of tobacco have...

  • Learn what bronchoscopy is and how it is done.

  • Guides people who are at high risk for lung cancer through the decision on whether to have an annual low-dose CT screening. Discusses the benefits and risks of having screening and the risk for getting lung cancer. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) is an illness that was first found in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread to other countries. It's caused by a type of coronavirus that can cause a moderate to severe upper respiratory illness such as the common cold. The virus is known as MERS-CoV. Experts believe MERS may...

  • Helping or caring for a loved one with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) can feel like a lot to take on. There's the challenge of caregiving, because what seems best for someone isn't always what the person wants to do. There's also the...

  • The flu and the common cold are both types of upper respiratory infections (URIs). Both are caused by viruses. But the flu is not the same as the common cold. Flu symptoms are usually much worse than a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly and...

  • Learn what a tracheostomy is and how it is done.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself at home after a tracheostomy.

  • As someone with asthma, you know how important it is to monitor your condition. Your doctor may want you to know how well your lungs are "working." Is their ability to move air in and out staying the same, or is it getting better or worse? When you monitor your asthma, you can control it. When you control your asthma...

  • Asthma is a long-lasting (chronic) disease of the respiratory system. It causes inflammation in tubes that carry air to the lungs (bronchial tubes). The inflammation makes your bronchial tubes likely to overreact to certain triggers. An overreaction can lead to decreased lung function, sudden difficulty breathing, and...

  • Guides through decision to take medicine for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or enlarged prostate. Lists common medicine choices. Discusses how to manage your symptoms at home. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.

  • A good quit-smoking program can help a person quit smoking by providing support and encouragement. Programs are available for you to attend in-person, by telephone, or online (on the Internet). Look for a program that is led by someone who has had training in helping people quit smoking. Better in-person smoking...

  • Covers using an asthma action plan for asthma attacks. Explains green, yellow, and red zones in an action plan. Covers what medicines to take in each zone. Reviews what to do if an attack becomes an emergency.

  • You may have started smoking to fit in with your friends. Maybe your parents smoke or your brother chews. Whatever the reason you began using tobacco, there are lots more reasons to stop: Smoking is much more addictive than you may believe. You may...

  • If you are a woman who smokes and you are thinking about getting pregnant or are pregnant, now is a good time to quit smoking. Women who smoke may have a harder time getting pregnant. Women who smoke are more likely to have the following...

  • Nicotine replacement therapies are helpful for people who quit smoking. They are available in several forms, such as patches, gum, lozenges, nasal sprays, and inhalers. All forms of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) work equally well. But talk with your doctor about what products might be best for you and what...

  • You chew nicotine gum as a way to help yourself quit using tobacco. The gum contains nicotine and feels and looks like chewing gum. When you chew the gum, the nicotine begins to slowly release into your mouth. Then you hold the gum in your mouth between your cheek and gums. Cigarette smoke passes nicotine almost...

  • You can gently encourage someone who smokes to quit. Think of your comments about smoking as only one event that moves that person toward quitting. Start any discussion of quitting in a gentle way. Let the person know why you want him or her to...

  • If you smoke, your chance of dying from a heart attack is 2 to 3 times greater than that of a person who does not smoke. About 1 out of 4 heart attacks is believed to be directly related to smoking. Smoking is a much more important risk factor for a...

  • Many common activities or events can trigger the urge to smoke. Knowing how to deal with them can help you deal with these triggers: Finishing a meal. Get up from the table immediately. Rinse your mouth with mouthwash or brush your teeth. Or start a pleasurable activity. Try a walk or a new hobby...

  • Smokeless tobacco products include chewing tobacco and snuff. These products are less harmful than smoking cigarettes. But they are just as addictive as cigarettes and do have serious health risks. Smokeless tobacco causes the following health...

  • A nicotine inhaler looks like a cigarette. It has a cartridge that contains nicotine. You inhale, and nicotine vapor is absorbed into your mouth and throat area. You don't absorb the nicotine into your lungs like you do with a cigarette. As a result, you don't get the same "hit" of nicotine as with...

  • When you quit smoking, you'll reap many physical benefits. Your taste buds will come back to life. Your sense of smell will improve. Your voice may improve as irritation of the voice box (larynx) from cigarette smoke is reduced. Your teeth will become whiter (less yellow). Your hair and breath will no longer smell...

  • Ask yourself some questions to see whether you smoke to relieve tension, irritability, and stress or to improve your mood. Does smoking a cigarette automatically come to mind when you are frustrated, angry, or sad? Does smoking a cigarette calm you when you are upset? Do you smoke more cigarettes when you are under...

  • Smoking may be a big part of your social life. Do you automatically smoke when you are around someone who is smoking? Do certain people, places, or things seem to make you want to smoke? Do your friends smoke? Friends care about one another, support...

  • Some unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking result from picking a time when it is harder to quit. If your life is hectic, you may feel there will never be a good time to quit. In that case, pick a time to quit, and do what you can to make your life...

  • Tracking your smoking can be helpful both while you prepare to quit and after you quit. Use it to record information about your smoking behavior, such as: Your list of reasons to quit. Your smoking triggers, which are those times, places, and...

  • Reduced smoking is a conscious change in the amount you smoke. It can prepare you to quit smoking at a later date, even if the quit date doesn't come for a long time. Reduced smoking has some limitations, and it should not be a goal itself, because...

  • Hyperventilation symptoms can be similar to symptoms that are caused by another problem. Hyperventilation can also be directly caused by: A medical condition or disease. Examples include: Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A blood clot, such as a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolus...

  • A nebulizer is a device used to deliver liquid medicine in the form of a fine mist (aerosol). It is sometimes used for asthma because: The medicine can be given over a longer period of time. It may be easier to use for small children or for people...

  • Vocal cord dysfunction is the uncontrolled closing of the vocal cords when you breathe in. The symptoms can seem to be the same as those of asthma and may occur alone or along with asthma. If you have asthma and vocal cord dysfunction, it may be...

  • Peak expiratory flow (PEF) measures how much air you or your child can breathe out using the greatest effort. It is used in the monitoring and treatment of asthma to determine how well your lungs are functioning. Your peak flow drops when the tubes...

  • Asthma is a long-lasting (chronic) disease that may last throughout your life—you must treat it long term. But following a management plan can be difficult over a long period of time. Here are some reasons you may not follow your management plan....

  • Wheezing is a whistling noise that occurs when the bronchial tubes, which carry air to the lungs, narrow because of inflammation or mucus buildup. Wheezing is often present in asthma. During an asthma attack, the bronchial tubes become smaller. At...

  • Smoking can gradually and permanently damage blood vessels throughout the body, including those that carry blood to the penis. This can make it difficult to get or maintain an erection (impotence). Quitting smoking may help prevent new damage from...

  • If you are like most smokers, you know that smoking is not good for you. But what you may not know is that the smoke from your cigarettes (secondhand smoke) also puts your loved ones' health at risk. Because of secondhand smoke, spouses and children...

  • An asthma action plan is based on zones defined by your symptoms, your peak flow, or both. It tells you what to do if you or your child has a sudden increase in asthma symptoms (asthma attack). The green zone of the asthma action plan is where a...

  • A rubber (aspirating) bulb can be used to remove mucus from a baby's nose or mouth when a cold or allergies make it hard for the baby to eat or sleep. It is best to use the rubber bulb to clean the baby's nose before feedings and before the baby...

  • What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...

  • What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read...

  • At one time or another, everyone has had a minor facial injury that caused pain, swelling, or bruising. Home treatment is usually all that is needed for mild bumps or bruises. Causes of facial injuries Facial injuries most commonly occur during: Sports or recreational activities, such as ice hockey, basketball...

  • Although most cases of influenza (flu) get better without causing other problems, complications sometimes develop. Possible complications of flu include: Pneumonia, which is an inflammation of the lungs. Primary influenza viral pneumonia develops...

  • Many people choose not to have the influenza vaccine because of myths they believe about the disease or the vaccine. Myth: Influenza is a minor illness. Truth: Influenza and its complications caused from 3,000 to 49,000 deaths each year from 1976 to...

  • Discusses symptoms of the flu, which is caused by the influenza virus. Covers how it's spread and when people who have the flu are contagious. Discusses prevention, including getting the influenza vaccine. Offers home treatment tips.

  • The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program has classified asthma as: Intermittent. Mild persistent. Moderate persistent. Severe persistent. These classifications are based on severity, which is determined by symptoms and lung function tests. You should be assigned to the most...

  • Exercise challenge and inhalation challenge tests are sometimes used to diagnose asthma and workplace asthma (occupational asthma). In an exercise challenge test, spirometry is done before and after you exercise on a treadmill or an exercise...

  • Asthma is a challenging condition. It can affect all areas of your child's life. Many children with asthma miss school days. When this happens, have your child call a friend to ask about the work he or she missed. Doing this both keeps your child's...

  • An asthma action plan is based on zones defined by your symptoms or your peak flow, or both. It tells you what to do if you have a sudden increase in your asthma symptoms (asthma attack). The yellow zone may mean that you are having an asthma attack...

  • An asthma trigger is a factor that can lead to sudden difficulty breathing or other symptoms of asthma (asthma attack). Some triggers are substances a person may be allergic to (allergens). Allergens cause the body's natural defenses (immune system)...

  • An asthma action plan is based on zones defined by your symptoms, your peak flow, or both. It tells you what to do if you have a sudden increase in your asthma symptoms (asthma attack). You are in the red zone of your asthma action plan if you have...

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the abnormal backflow, or reflux, of stomach juices into the esophagus, the tube that leads from the throat to the stomach. GERD is found in many people who have asthma. Having asthma increases the chances...

  • Occupational asthma is the most common form of work-related lung disease in many countries. When a person develops asthma as an adult, occupational exposure is a likely cause. Occupational asthma develops when a person is exposed to a particular...

  • An asthma attack (also called an acute asthma episode, flare-up, or exacerbation) is a sudden increase in the symptoms of asthma, including: Rapid, shallow, and difficult breathing. Feeling that you cannot take a deep breath (chest tightness)....

  • It is important to know the symptoms of difficulty breathing in asthma. If you or your child is having trouble breathing, follow your asthma action plan. You are having mild difficulty breathing if: Your breathing is slightly faster than normal....

  • An asthma attack is a short period when breathing becomes difficult, sometimes along with chest tightness, wheezing, and coughing. When this happens during or after exercise, it is known as exercise-induced asthma or exercise-induced bronchospasm....

  • The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI) and the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) have developed guidelines for getting asthma under control. They list the goals of asthma treatment as:...

  • Asthma is a long-lasting (chronic) disease that may last throughout your life—you must treat it long term. Taking medicines and following a management plan can be difficult over a long period of time. Taking daily medicines is often one of the...

  • It can be difficult to know whether your child is having a mild, moderate, or severe asthma attack. The following chart may help you. Talk with a doctor if you are unable to tell how severe your child's symptoms are. Factor Mild attack Moderate...

  • Diagnosis and treatment of asthma can be a challenge if you are age 65 or older. You might have another medical condition that masks your asthma. Or you may be more likely to have side effects from asthma medicines or be at risk for reactions from...

  • Exposure to cockroaches may increase asthma symptoms. Cockroaches leave behind particles from their feces, eggs, and shells that can cause an allergic reaction. Cockroaches are a problem in many homes, especially in the southern part of the United States. Here are some steps you can take to remove cockroaches from your...

  • Educating yourself and your family about asthma is essential for you and your child to have control of the disease. If you understand asthma, you will have an easier time following the different aspects of treatment, such as avoiding substances that cause symptoms (triggers) and knowing what to do during an asthma...

  • Allergy shots are a type of immunotherapy treatment in which small doses of substances to which you are allergic ( allergens) are injected under your skin. Over time, your body may become less responsive to the allergens, which means you may have fewer symptoms. Allergy shots are given after careful skin testing for...

  • When you have COPD, especially if you have chronic bronchitis, you may sometimes have sudden attacks where your breathing and coughing symptoms suddenly get worse and stay that way. These attacks are called COPD exacerbations, or flare-ups. With treatment, many people recover and return to the same level of...

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) weakens the structure of the lung and may also damage the tiny air sacs (alveoli) in the lung. When these air sacs break down, larger airspaces known as bullae are formed. Bullae sometimes can become so...

  • Alpha-1 antitrypsin (AAT) is a protein normally found in the lungs and the bloodstream. It helps protect the lungs from the damage caused by inflammation that can lead to emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People whose...

  • For many people, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) gets in the way of sex. Being out of breath makes things difficult. Just thinking about it can make you want to avoid sex. But it doesn't have to be like that. To start, think through...

  • What is respiratory syncytial virus infection? Respiratory syncytial virus infection, usually called RSV, is a lot like a bad cold. It causes the same symptoms. And like a cold, it is very common and very contagious. Most children have had it at least once by age 2. RSV is usually not something to worry about. But it...

  • Chronic lung disease in an infant means that damaged tissue in the newborn's lungs is causing breathing and health problems. The lungs trap air or collapse, fill with fluid, and produce extra mucus. Most babies who have chronic lung disease survive....

  • Discusses causes of lung cancer, including smoking and exposure to asbestos or radon. Covers symptoms and how lung cancer is diagnosed. Covers treatment with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Includes info on palliative care.

  • Lung transplant is an option for a few people who have severe lung problems that are caused by cystic fibrosis. The procedure removes the diseased lungs and replaces them with healthy lungs from a recently deceased donor. Sometimes a procedure called a living-donor lobar lung transplant is performed while a person is...

  • What is cystic fibrosis? Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes mucus in the body to become thick and sticky. This glue-like mucus builds up and causes problems in many of the body's organs, especially the lungs and the pancreas. People who have cystic fibrosis can have serious breathing problems and lung...

  • What is hantavirus pulmonary syndrome? Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) is a lung infection caused by viruses found in the saliva, urine, and droppings of some rodents. The illness is rare but can be deadly. What causes HPS? Most cases of HPS in the U.S. are caused by one type of hantavirus found in the deer...

  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a treatment to increase a person's blood oxygen level, which can prevent tissue death, promote healing, and help fight infection. This treatment involves a person being in an enclosed chamber while 100% oxygen is pumped in at high pressure. The purpose of oxygen therapy for the...

  • What is carbon monoxide poisoning? Carbon monoxide poisoning happens when you breathe too much carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a gas produced by burning any type of fuel—gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal. What makes this gas so dangerous is that when you breathe it, it replaces the oxygen in your blood...

  • Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look at your airway through a thin viewing device called a bronchoscope. During a bronchoscopy, your doctor will examine your throat, larynx, trachea, and lower airways. This procedure may be done to diagnose problems with the airway, the lungs, or the lymph...

  • What is tuberculosis? Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria that grow best in areas of the body that have lots of blood and oxygen. That's why it is most often found in the lungs. This is called pulmonary TB. But TB can also spread to other parts of the body, which is called...

  • A home lung function test uses a peak flow meter or a home spirometer to monitor and evaluate any breathing problems you may have on a day-to-day basis. A peak flow meter allows you to measure your peak expiratory flow. A home spirometer allows you to measure your forced expiratory volume at 1 second (FEV1). If you...

  • A lung biopsy removes a small piece of lung tissue which can be looked at under a microscope. The biopsy can be done in four ways. The method used depends on where the sample will be taken from and your overall health. Bronchoscopic biopsy. This type of biopsy uses a lighted instrument (bronchoscope)...

  • Thoracentesis is a procedure to remove fluid from the space between the lungs and the chest wall called the pleural space. It is done with a needle (and sometimes a plastic catheter) inserted through the chest wall. Ultrasound pictures are often used to guide the placement of the needle. This pleural fluid may be sent...

  • A bacterial infection may develop following infection with viral influenza. Signs of a bacterial infection include: Feeling short of breath. A fever that doesn't go away. A cough that lingers more than 7 to 10 days after other symptoms have...

  • Other tests for lung infections, such as pneumonia and acute bronchitis, may include: Blood tests or cultures. Blood tests may help tell whether antibodies to a specific organism that can cause pneumonia are present or whether specific viruses, such as influenza (flu) or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)...

  • Pulmonary rehabilitation for COPD combines different treatments to: Help you lead a more active life. Help reduce your symptoms. Improve your quality of life. Encourage your active participation in your treatment. Help keep you out of the doctor's office and out of the hospital...

  • In lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS), a large area of damaged lung is removed to allow the remaining lung tissue to expand when you breathe in. This surgery is done only for people with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or with...

  • Covers causes and symptoms of asthma in teens and adults. Includes info on avoiding triggers and treating attacks. Looks at treatment with controller medicine. Covers delivery systems that include metered-dose and dry powder inhalers and nebulizers.

  • Describes acute bronchitis, which is short-term inflammation of the tubes carrying air to the lungs. Explains difference between bronchitis and pneumonia. Includes causes and symptoms like cough. Covers treatment options.

  • Discusses causes and symptoms of COPD. Looks at chronic bronchitis and emphysema, two diseases that are usually a part of COPD. Covers quitting smoking. Includes treatment with bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids. Offers home treatment tips.

  • If you are under a doctor's care for heart failure, the following tips may help you deal with fluid buildup that causes difficulty with breathing. Note: If your symptoms are severe enough to require these measures and you have not been diagnosed with heart failure, call your doctor first. Also, call your doctor...

  • If you have heart failure, it is important that you do as much as possible to avoid catching colds, the flu, and other respiratory infections. Although these may be relatively minor illnesses in healthy people, they are more dangerous if you have heart failure, and you are at higher risk for dangerous complications...

  • Snoring is a major symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). But even though most people who have sleep apnea snore, not all people who snore have sleep apnea. Snoring occurs when the flow of air from the mouth or nose to the lungs is disturbed...

  • Fiber-optic pharyngoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to look into the upper part of your respiratory system. He or she may use it to help decide how to treat your obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). You remain awake during the procedure. Your...

  • Oral devices (also called oral appliances) are sometimes used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). They push the tongue and jaw forward, which makes the airway larger and improves airflow. This also reduces the chance that tissue will collapse...

  • Continuous positive airway pressure therapy ( CPAP) uses a machine to help a person who has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) breathe more easily during sleep. A CPAP machine increases air pressure in your throat so that your airway doesn't collapse when you breathe in. When you use CPAP, your bed partner may sleep better...

  • Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy are surgeries to remove the tonsils or adenoids. They are: Used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children. Rarely used to treat snoring in adults. Not used to treat snoring in children. The surgeries almost always require a stay in the hospital.

  • Information on uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Explains that UPPP is a procedure to remove excess tissue in the throat to make the airway wider. Discusses effectiveness and risks.

  • Discusses tracheostomy to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This surgery is done only for severe OSA. Explains that permanent opening in windpipe is created. Discusses possible complications, including lung infection, trouble talking, or scar tissue.

  • Focuses on obstructive sleep apnea. Discusses causes, including narrowed airways and obesity. Covers symptoms like snoring, gasping during sleep, and daytime sleepiness. Info on treatment with CPAP and oral or nasal breathing devices.

  • Lung function tests check how well your lungs work. The tests can find lung problems, measure how serious they are, and check to see how well treatment for a lung disease is working. The tests look at: How much air your lungs can hold. How quickly you can move air in and out of your lungs. How well your lungs put...

  • Gives info on heart problem that leads to heart failure. Includes symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment with medicines, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Also info on causes like amyloidosis, hemochromatosis, and sarcoidosis. Includes info on tests.

  • A sweat test measures the amount of salt chemicals (sodium and chloride) in sweat. It is done to help diagnose cystic fibrosis. Normally, sweat on the skin surface contains very little sodium and chloride. People with cystic fibrosis have 2 to 5 times the normal amount of sodium and chloride in their sweat. During the...

  • Oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen in the lungs and the bloodstream. You may need oxygen therapy if there are signs that the cells of your body are not getting enough oxygen. You may use oxygen therapy at home or in the hospital if you have low oxygen levels in your blood because of pneumonia, lung...

  • Discusses pneumonia, a lung infection caused by bacteria. Covers mild symptoms of walking pneumonia and more severe symptoms of other types of pneumonia. Discusses tests used to diagnose pneumonia. Includes info on treatment using antibiotics.

  • Quitting smoking is probably the most important step you can take to decrease your chance of coronary artery disease (CAD) and a heart attack. Smoking raises your risk of getting CAD and dying early from CAD. Carbon monoxide, nicotine, and other...

  • Hyperventilation is breathing that is deeper and more rapid than normal. It causes a decrease in the amount of a gas in the blood (called carbon dioxide, or CO2). This decrease may make you feel lightheaded, have a rapid heartbeat, and be short of breath. It also can lead to numbness or tingling in your hands or feet...

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

  • Cancer prevention is action taken to lower the chance of getting cancer. By preventing cancer, the number of new cases of cancer in a group or population is lowered. Hopefully, this will lower the number of deaths caused by cancer. To prevent new cancers from starting, scientists look at risk factors and protective...

  • Small cell lung cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the lung. The lungs are a pair of cone-shaped breathing organs that are found in the chest. The lungs bring oxygen into the body when you breathe in and take out carbon dioxide when you breathe out. Each lung has sections called...

  • Non-small cell lung cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the lung. The lungs are a pair of cone-shaped breathing organs in the chest. The lungs bring oxygen into the body as you breathe in. They release carbon dioxide, a waste product of the body's cells, as you breathe out...

  • Screening is looking for cancer before a person has any symptoms. This can help find cancer at an early stage. When abnormal tissue or cancer is found early, it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Scientists are trying to better understand which people are more likely to...

  • Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lining of the chest or abdomen. Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the pleura (the thin layer of tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers the lungs) or the peritoneum (the thin layer of...

  • Cardiopulmonary syndromes are conditions of the heart and lung that may be caused by cancer or by other health problems. Five cardiopulmonary syndromes that may be caused by cancer are covered in this summary: Dyspnea (shortness of breath). Chronic cough. Malignant pleural effusion (extra fluid around the lungs caused...

  • Childhood midline tract carcinoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the respiratory tract or other places along the middle of the body. The respiratory tract is made up of the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. Midline tract carcinoma may also form in other places along the middle of...

  • Mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the thin layer of tissue that covers organs in the chest or abdomen. Malignant mesothelioma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in one or more of the following: Pleura: A thin layer of tissue that lines the chest cavity and covers...

  • An object can become stuck in the airway at any age but is most common in children younger than age 3. Although a child may not have any symptoms when something is stuck in his or her airway, any of the following symptoms may occur: Rapid, noisy, or high-pitched breathing Increased drooling Difficult...

  • Vaporizers and humidifiers help moisten the mouth and throat when breathing the dry, heated indoor air of the winter months. The mist from a humidifier may be preferred because of the risk of burns from steam vaporizers. Keep vaporizers and...

  • Provides questions to help you learn why you use tobacco. Discusses the benefits of quitting and offers strategies for quitting. Explains nicotine dependence and offers link to info on nicotine replacement therapy.

  • Discusses respiratory problems that babies and children can have. Covers viral and bacterial infections, allergies, and asthma. Offers home treatment tips. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

  • Discusses respiratory problems that older children and adults can have. Covers viral and bacterial infections, allergies, and asthma. Offers home treatment tips. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

  • Dust builds up throughout your home. The dust may contain substances that trigger asthma symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, or another allergic reaction, such as the rash of atopic dermatitis or stuffy nose of allergic rhinitis. These substances are called allergens. Dust mites are another example of an allergen...

  • Sometimes after you swallow a pill it may feel like it "got stuck" or didn't go all the way down. This feeling usually goes away within 30 to 60 minutes if you drink liquids or eat a piece of bread. You may not have any symptoms when something is stuck in your esophagus. But when symptoms are present, they may include...

  • It is common to cough for a few minutes after breathing in smoke or fumes from a fire. Your breathing should return to normal within a short period of time, about 30 minutes. If your breathing does not return to normal or if your breathing is getting worse instead of improving, it is important to think about whether you...

  • A productive cough helps clear mucus (sputum) and foreign material from the airways. Mucus may be made in the lungs because of bronchitis, pneumonia, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Colds and allergies may produce mucus that drains down the back of the throat ( postnasal drainage). Home treatment may...

  • Dry coughs that continue after other cold symptoms clear or that occur without other symptoms may be caused by a variety of health problems. Some people start coughing when they breathe very dry, heated air. This can be caused by environmental irritation or allergies. This type of cough may be more noticeable when you...

  • A cough that is more noticeable when your child is lying down is usually caused by mucus running down the back of the throat (postnasal drip) from an upper respiratory infection, such as a cold, sinusitis, or allergy. A child usually has a runny or stuffy nose, may be irritable, and may have a fever. Home treatment is...

  • Discusses various sleep problems of those 12 and older. Covers insomnia, sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and restless leg syndrome. Offers tips to improve sleep. Includes interactive tool to help you decide when to call a doctor.

  • Covers control of asthma with asthma action plan. Includes working with doctor on a plan and medicines for symptoms and attacks. Includes use of controller medicine and peak flow meter. Reviews avoiding triggers and keeping asthma diary.

  • If you need oxygen at home, it is important to learn how to use and take care of your equipment. This information will help you get the most from your oxygen treatment. If you have low blood oxygen levels, breathing extra oxygen can help you feel better and lead to a longer, more active life. You can travel even...

  • Guides through decision to take antiviral medicine for the flu. Explains the two types of antiviral medicines for the flu and who should take them. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Guides you through the decision to get a flu vaccine. Provides info on the flu vaccine. Explains who should and should not get a flu vaccine. Covers benefits and risks. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • All cases of tuberculosis (TB) are reported to the local or state health department, because the disease can spread to others and cause outbreaks. Major health authorities keep track of TB outbreaks and encourage early testing for people who are at risk for the disease. The CDC recommends TB testing for people who...

  • Sleep apnea occurs when you regularly stop breathing for 10 seconds or longer during sleep. It can be mild, moderate, or severe, based on the number of times an hour that you stop breathing (apnea) or that airflow to your lungs is reduced (hypopnea). This is called the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI)...

  • Here are some ways you can help comfort your child who has a respiratory illness (such as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection or a cold): Ask your doctor if your child can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help relieve fever (if present). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the...

  • Heart rhythm problems, called arrhythmias, can cause a few types of symptoms. These symptoms happen because the heart isn't beating regularly or may not be pumping blood as well as normal. Some of these symptoms include palpitations, lightheadedness, fainting, and shortness of breath. Palpitations Having palpitations...

  • Interactive tool measures your readiness to quit smoking. Helps you identify the stage of change that you're in. Offers questions to help you think about what to do next. Includes link to more extensive info on quitting tobacco use.

  • Below are some of the most common and helpful strategies people use to get through the tough period of nicotine withdrawal. Make a list of your smoking triggers. It is wiser to avoid triggers after you have quit smoking than to tempt yourself too soon. If you cannot avoid them early on, be cautious when they are...

  • The best way to cope with a strong temptation to smoke is to quickly remove yourself from the situation that is causing the temptation. Don't worry about "how it will look" if you leave a party, wedding reception, or public function to avoid the temptation to smoke. You have an important reason for leaving. When you...

  • Is this topic for you? This topic provides information about pleurisy, which usually results in chest pain. If you have chest pain that concerns you and that your doctor does not know about, see the topic Chest Problems. What is pleurisy? Pleurisy is swelling ( inflammation) of the thin layers of tissue...

  • Pneumocystis is a fungus that can sometimes cause pneumonia in people who have AIDS. Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs. Pneumonia can make it hard to breathe and to get enough oxygen into the bloodstream. Symptoms often begin suddenly and may be similar to those of an upper respiratory infection, such as...

  • What are hiccups? Hiccups occur when a spasm contracts the diaphragm, a large sheet of muscle that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity. This spasm causes an intake of breath that is suddenly stopped by the closure of the vocal cords (glottis). This closure causes the characteristic "hiccup" sound...

  • When you're pregnant, everything you put in your body can affect your baby. If you smoke, your baby is exposed to chemicals such as nicotine and carbon monoxide. If you're a smoker and get pregnant, now is the time to quit. If you're not a smoker, avoid secondhand smoke. If you smoke and aren't pregnant but are...

  • As your due date draws nearer, learn and practice controlled breathing techniques for pain management during childbirth. Concentrating on your breathing can help distract you from pain, relax both your muscles and your mind, and keep your oxygen...

  • Whether you want to think about kicking your tobacco habit or not, you might find it interesting to take a look at the ways tobacco has worked its way into your everyday life. Check your response: Rarely Sometimes Often Smoking or chewing tobacco is something I do when I'm out having a good time with...

  • What would motivate you to quit smoking? Take a moment to fill out the smoker's self-test. Be honest when you answer the questions. You may discover that you have more good reasons to quit than to continue using tobacco. Decide if you agree with any of these statements. _____It makes me uncomfortable to know that I am...

  • What is bird flu? Bird flu is an infection caused by a certain kind of avian influenza virus. Although there are many kinds of bird flu, the most common kinds that concern health workers are H5N1 and H7N9 bird flu viruses. These viruses are found in wild birds. Most of the time, wild birds don't get sick from the...

  • Guides through decision to receive CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and mechanical ventilation. Describes the procedures and discusses risks and benefits of each. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • What are pulmonary (lung) nodules? Pulmonary (lung) nodules are growths or "spots" in the lungs. You may have just one nodule (called a solitary pulmonary nodule) or more than one (called multiple nodules). What causes lung nodules? Lung nodules may be caused by: A lung cancer. A cancer that has spread...

  • Asbestos is a substance that was used in building materials. The substance can enter the body by being inhaled or swallowed. The substance attaches to the lining of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Contact with asbestos over time has been...

  • In some women, the estrogen in combination hormonal birth control methods increases the risk of a blood clot in a leg ( deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) or a blood clot in a lung ( pulmonary embolism, or PE). A blood clot in a leg vein can travel through the circulation system and cause pulmonary embolism. The risk for...

  • Looks at lung surgery (called thoracotomy) to treat lung cancer. Covers how it is done and what to expect after surgery. Covers its risks and how well it works. Offers illustrations on three types of surgery: wedge resection, lobectomy, and pneumonectomy.

  • Discusses anthrax, a disease caused by Bacillus anthracis bacteria. Covers symptoms based on the three types of infection. Discusses treatment with antibiotics and other medicines. Covers anthrax vaccine. Offers tips on reducing exposure risk.

  • Discusses primary cause (blood clot in the lungs) and symptoms of pulmonary embolism. Looks at treatment with thrombolytic medicines, blood thinners (anticoagulants), or surgery. Links to info on complications like pulmonary hypertension.

  • Steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning include the following: Purchase and install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home and near sleeping areas. Use those marked UL 2034 or IAS 6–96, which have met the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines. Follow the directions carefully for...

  • Swimming pools Most childhood drownings occur in swimming pools. When visiting public or private pools, make sure that your children are supervised closely and that they are familiar with pool safety rules. If you have a pool at your home, use these tips to help prevent drowning tragedies: Pool safety...

  • The severity of asthma can vary, and asthma often requires changes in your treatment to control it. To ensure that you are getting the proper treatment, you have to continuously monitor and evaluate the disease and communicate with your doctor. Symptoms Know the symptoms of poorly controlled asthma—wheezing, cough...

  • Discusses causes and symptoms of asthma in children. Looks at treatment with medicine such as inhaled corticosteroid and albuterol. Discusses avoiding triggers and treating attacks. Covers using nebulizers, metered-dose with spacer and dry powder inhalers.

  • What is SARS? Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) is a respiratory illness that first infected people in parts of Asia, North America, and Europe in late 2002 and early 2003. SARS is caused by a type of coronavirus, which can cause mild to moderate upper respiratory illness, such as the common cold. This virus...

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) slowly damages the lungs and affects how you breathe. COPD's effect on breathing In COPD, the airways of the lungs (bronchial tubes) become inflamed and narrowed. They tend to collapse when you breathe out and can become clogged with mucus. This reduces airflow through the...

  • What is black lung disease? Black lung disease is a common name for any lung disease that develops from inhaling coal dust. This name comes from the fact that those with the disease have lungs that look black instead of pink. Medically, it is a type of pneumoconiosis called coal workers' pneumoconiosis (CWP). There are...

  • Cystic fibrosis causes mucus to become thick and sticky, which can clog the lungs and cause serious problems. You can help your child maintain lung function and avoid complications from mucus buildup and blockage by performing an airway clearance technique (ACT). Postural drainage and chest percussion (PD & P) is one of...

  • Guides through decision to take antibiotics for acute bronchitis. Explains when antibiotics are helpful. Covers risks of antibiotics. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Coughing is your body's way of getting foreign substances and mucus out of your lungs and upper airway passages. Coughs are often useful, and you should not try to stop them. Sometimes, though, coughs are severe enough to make breathing difficult, cause vomiting, or prevent rest. Home treatment can help you feel more...

  • What is bronchiolitis? Bronchiolitis is an infection of the bronchioles, the small air passages in the lungs. It is common in infants and is the leading cause of serious lower respiratory illness. What causes bronchiolitis? Bronchiolitis is caused by a virus, especially respiratory syncytial virus...

  • Contains information on snoring. Does not cover sleep apnea or sleep disorders. Includes info on what causes snoring. Discusses things you can do to stop snoring. Covers snoring treatments such as medicines, oral breathing devices, or surgery.

  • Omalizumab (Xolair) is a medicine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in people age 12 and older who have moderate or severe persistent asthma. This medicine costs a lot more than any of the standard treatments for asthma. The medicine works by blocking immunoglobulin E (IgE) from attaching...

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a procedure used to remove excess tissue in the throat to widen the airway. This sometimes can allow air to move through the throat more easily when you breathe, reducing snoring. The tissues removed may include: The small finger-shaped piece of tissue ( uvula) that hangs down from...

  • When you use inhaled asthma medicine, you usually use a device that delivers the medicine directly to your lungs. Different types of delivery systems are available. And one type may be more suitable for certain people, age groups, or medicine than another. The following table describes how asthma medicines may be...

  • Medicines for quick relief of the narrowed bronchial tubes caused by asthma include short-acting beta2-agonists. These medicines relieve sudden increases of symptoms ( asthma attacks) quickly. But overuse may be harmful. Overuse of short-acting beta2-agonists has been associated with worsening asthma and increased risk...

  • An asthma diary helps you keep track of how well you are managing your asthma. If you have symptoms or an asthma attack, record the trigger (if possible), the symptoms, and what kind of medicine you used for relief and how well it worked. Also note if you had to contact your doctor or seek emergency care. This can help...

  • Several oral devices have been tested to treat people with snoring, including a tongue-retaining device that is worn while sleeping. It pushes the tongue and jaw forward, improving airflow. Changing the position of the lower jaw enlarges the airway and decreases the chance that it will collapse when you inhale. This may...

  • Week of ________________________ If I use a peak flow meter: My personal best peak expiratory flow (PEF) is ________ . My PEF for green zone is ___________ liters per second (80% to 100% of my personal best*). My PEF for yellow zone is ___________ liters per second (50% to less than 80% of my personal best*). My...

  • Covers eating healthy foods when you have COPD. Looks at how shortness of breath may make eating harder and why it is important to eat regularly. Offers tips to make eating easier and help you get necessary nutrition.

  • Covers oxygen treatment to increase oxygen flow to lungs and blood when you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Explains that oxygen therapy may slow or prevent heart failure. Covers oxygen use during exercise, sleep, and travel.

  • Covers causes of weight and muscle loss when you have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Includes why weight loss is a concern with COPD and how to avoid it. Guides you through ways to add nutritious calories and protein to your diet.

  • Covers ways to exercise and stay active with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Explains that exercise makes muscles and heart stronger and may improve shortness of breath. Includes warning to talk to your doctor before starting exercise.

  • People who have had a spinal cord injury (SCI) don't always have the ability to cough forcefully. A forceful cough is important, because it will help you bring up mucus in the lungs, which can help prevent some lung complications, such as pneumonia. But some people shouldn't try assisted cough. Don't use an assisted...

  • Covers helping a child with asthma use a metered-dose inhaler with mask spacer. Explains that a metered dose inhaler delivers a measured dose of medicine directly to the lungs. Includes pictures on how to use metered-dose inhaler with mask spacer.

  • Covers questions about asthma during pregnancy and labor. Looks at treatment with medicines including inhaled albuterol, budesonide, salmeterol, and formoterol. Includes treatment of allergies. Covers safety of steroids for pregnant mother and baby.

  • An asthma action plan is a written plan that tells you how to treat your asthma on a daily basis. The plan also helps you deal with sudden increases in your or your child's asthma symptoms ( asthma attacks). You need to treat the inflammation in your lungs to minimize the long-term effects of asthma. The plan tells you...

  • Understanding asthma can help you control your symptoms and reduce your risk of asthma attacks. The following statements summarize what you should know about asthma. If you do not know, or are not sure, about any of them, talk to your doctor. The more you understand about asthma, the better you will be able to follow...

  • Lung and breathing problems are common in a spinal cord injury (SCI). This is because you may not be able to use some of the muscles necessary for breathing, or they may be very weak. This makes it difficult to breath, cough, and bring up mucus from the lungs, which leads to a greater risk of lung infections such as...

  • Asthma is the most common long-lasting (chronic) disease of childhood. It usually develops before age 5. Many children who have allergies get asthma, but not all. And not every child with asthma has allergies. In most cases of persistent asthma, the first symptoms (such as wheezing) start in the first years of life...

  • What is healthcare-associated pneumonia? Healthcare-associated pneumonia (nosocomial pneumonia) is pneumonia that you get when you are in a hospital or nursing home. Experts generally consider it a more serious illness than pneumonia that people get in daily life (community-associated pneumonia). This is because the...

  • What are Legionnaires' disease and Pontiac fever? Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia. It is caused by bacteria called Legionella pneumophila. The bacteria got its name in 1976, when a group of people attending an American Legion convention became infected. Although it was present before 1976, Legionnaires'...

  • What is altitude sickness? Altitude sickness occurs when you cannot get enough oxygen from the air at high altitudes. This causes symptoms such as a headache, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping. It happens most often when people who are not used to high altitudes go quickly from lower altitudes to 8000 ft (2500...

  • You've made a big decision. You're going to quit smoking. Quitting is hard, and you probably know this. Maybe you've quit before. If so, that's normal. Most people quit many times. What can you do to make it more likely that you'll kick the habit for good? One important part of quitting smoking is getting help from...

  • Your partner or friend has decided it's time to quit smoking. This is great news. You're excited, and you want to help. But you don't want your partner or friend to feel that you're coming on too strong or that you're "checking up" on him or her. This Actionset will give you tips on helping someone who is trying to...

  • High blood sugar from diabetes can affect the body's immune system, impairing the ability of white blood cells to come to the site of an infection, stay in the infected area, and kill microorganisms. Because of the buildup of plaque in blood vessels associated with diabetes, areas of infection may receive a poor blood...

  • Nicotine is only one of the thousands of chemicals in tobacco, but it is the major component that acts on the brain. The lungs readily absorb nicotine from the smoke of cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. The tissues of the mouth can also absorb nicotine when a person smokes cigars or pipes or chews tobacco. Nicotine reaches...

  • Covers using an inhaler to get needed medicine into lungs quickly. Describes dry powder inhalers, how they work, and why to use them. Includes pictures on how to use a dry powder inhaler.

  • A slip is when a smoker who has quit smokes one or two cigarettes. A relapse is when a smoker who has quit returns to regular smoking. It is hard to quit smoking. The temptation can be very strong. Here you will find strategies to help you avoid slips as well as a relapse. You will also find tips for deciding how soon...

  • The cravings for nicotine can be intense for the first few days when you stop smoking, but they will get better with time. Here are some tips on how to cope: Use nicotine gum, lozenges, or an inhaler. Distract yourself. Stop what you are doing, and do something else. Try to stay away from other smokers, at least in...

  • Radiofrequency palatoplasty is a new procedure that uses an electrical current to shrink and stiffen the back part of the roof of the mouth ( soft palate and uvula). When the soft palate and uvula are stiffer, they are less likely to vibrate and you are less likely to snore.

  • You can do things at home to manage COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). By learning the triggers for COPD and avoiding them, you can help reduce flare-ups. While some triggers may be out of your control, there are others you can easily avoid. Learn and avoid the common triggers for COPD. By avoiding...

  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a long-term illness that makes it hard to breathe. When you have COPD, air does not flow easily into and out of your lungs. You may be short of breath, cough a lot, and have a lot of mucus in your lungs. Learning to clear your lungs may help you save energy and oxygen and...

  • Traveling while you are on oxygen therapy usually is possible if you plan ahead. Start by seeing your doctor several weeks to months before your travel date. Ask him or her to: Figure out how much oxygen you will need. Give you the medical forms that are needed for travel. Recommend a doctor in the places where you...

  • My name:__________________ Doctor's name: ___________________ Doctor's phone: _______________ Controller medicine How much? How often? Other instructions Quick-relief medicine How much? How often? Other instructions...

  • It's not easy to quit smoking. The nicotine in cigarettes is addicting. Your body craves it because it makes you feel good. So when you try to stop smoking, you go through nicotine withdrawal. You feel awful, and you may worry about gaining weight. You get cranky and anxious. It can be hard to sleep. You're not the...

  • Briefly discusses causes and symptoms of a collapsed lung (also called pneumothorax). Covers how it is diagnosed and treated. Links to info on COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis, and pneumonia.

  • Interactive tool that helps you estimate the impact smoking will have on your lifespan. Provides links to info on quitting tobacco use and a decision tool to determine whether you're ready to quit smoking.

  • Interactive tool helps you calculate how much money you have spent on cigarettes in the past and how much you will spend on them in the future if you keep smoking. Offers link to more extensive info on quitting tobacco use.

  • What are colds? Everyone gets a cold from time to time. Children get more colds than adults. Colds usually last 1 to 2 weeks. You can catch a cold at any time of year, but they are more common in late winter and early spring. There is no cure for a cold. Antibiotics will not cure a cold. If you catch a cold...

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe. COPD gets worse over time. You can't undo the damage to your lungs. But you can take steps to breathe easier and feel better. If you have severe COPD, you may find that you take quick, small, shallow breaths. It's...

  • Lung function means how well your lungs work. When you have COPD, your lungs can't move as much air in and out as they should. And the more serious your COPD is, the less air your lungs are able to move. Spirometry tests are used to measure lung function. They measure how much air you breathe out when you take long...

  • If you have COPD, your usual shortness of breath could suddenly get worse. You may start coughing more and have more mucus. This flare-up is called a COPD exacerbation or a COPD attack. A respiratory tract infection or air pollution could set off an attack. Or it may happen after a quick change in temperature or...

  • More good days. It's possible to have them, even with COPD, says Sarah, who found out 3 years ago that she had the disease. COPD sneaked up on Sarah. She began coughing more often, and the coughing lasted longer. Every day it got a little bit harder to breathe. One day she found she couldn't walk up the basement stairs...

  • "I've been smoking ever since I was a teenager. That's 40-something years ago. I never really thought about what could happen to this old body if I kept lighting up. I just knew that I loved to smoke. "Then I started to notice that it was getting harder and harder to do simple things like walk to my mailbox. One time my...

  • "I was so scared when the doctor told me I had emphysema. I was afraid to go anywhere or do anything. I plunged into a big black hole of depression. "Someone told me to go online and hook up with a support group. I did, and it literally changed my life. I was pretty shy at first, and all I did was read what everyone...

  • "Why me?" That's what Cal asked himself over and over after he was diagnosed with severe COPD 5 years ago. "I spent the first 2 years moping around the house, feeling sorry for myself," he says. "I didn't go anywhere, I didn't do anything. I just sat in front of the TV and tried not to think about anything." Then one...

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