Asthma is characterized by bronchial airway hyper responsiveness that is reversible with a bronchodilator. Asthma can be defined broadly as a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways. Characteristic symptoms include wheezing, cough, shortness of breath that typically follow exposure to an allergen, exercise or viral infection.

Diagnosing asthma requires pulmonary function testing that measure lung function.

Treatment of asthma depends on the severity of symptoms.

Recognizing an asthma exacerbation: Defined as increased frequency of cough, wheezing, and use of rescue inhaler. Most common trigger of a flare is an infection. Treatment includes regular use of bronchodilator, systemic steroid, and addition of antibiotics if infection is present.

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