Asthma

The information in this area includes:


Helpline: 1-888-566-LUNG (5864)


Speak to a Saskatchewan Asthma Educator by calling the toll-free line, Monday to Friday 8:30AM to 4:30PM


Why is it important to contact an asthma educator?


Certified Asthma Educators are health care professionals including nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, dietitians and others who have special training in asthma management. Certified Respiratory Educators are health care professionals with training in both asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Lung disease) management. Both types of educators are knowledgeable about the current medical management of asthma as well as skilled in helping people with asthma learn how to manage their chronic condition. Education is critical to help people identify what triggers their asthma and how to avoid or limit the exposure to those triggers; understand what, how and when to take the medications prescribed by the doctor; and how to prevent and manage worsening asthma. Taking responsibility is important in managing a chronic condition on a daily basis. An educator can help people with asthma and their families accomplish this.


Find A Certified Respiratory Educator in Saskatchewan


Printable Asthma Handbook


The Lung Association’s Asthma Handbook is a comprehensive guide that is written in a clear, easy-to-understand style. People with asthma and their caregivers will benefit from this information on the diagnosis and management of asthma. The Asthma Handbook will help you become an active member of your health care team, along with your physician and certified respiratory educator.


Please click here to download or order asthma information materials.


Asthma Statistics


See asthma facts and figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

How is Asthma Diagnosed?

For children over the age of 5 years and adults:

Only your doctor can decide if your breathing problems are due to asthma. Your doctor will:

  • Take a detailed medical history. You will be asked questions about you and your family’s health histories and your breathing problems.
  • Do a physical examination. This may include listening to your lungs and looking inside your nose.
  • Test your breathing by using spirometry. Spirometry is a quick, simple breathing test that measures how much air you can blow out of your lungs. For this test, you will be asked to blow fast and hard through a tube attached to a small machine. The machine will show how much air you can push out of your lungs and how fast. Because spirometry takes some coordination, children under five years old are not usually asked to do this test.

Your doctor may order other tests:

  • chest x-ray and lab tests.
  • allergy tests: Your doctor may refer you to an allergist. The allergist will test for specific allergies, ask what your symptoms are and when you notice them. Usually a “skin prick” test is used to help find out what allergies make your asthma worse.
  • challenge tests: These tests are done in a hospital. They help to tell the doctor how “twitchy” your airways are.

For children 5 years of age and younger:

Because children five years of age and younger are not able to have a breathing test done that would confirm an asthma diagnosis, the doctor may use the following to determine if the child may have asthma:

  • has the child had a severe episode of wheezing or difficulty breathing?
  • has the child had wheezing or difficulty breathing after the age of one year?
  • has the child had three or more episodes of wheezing?
  • does the child have a persistent cough, especially at night or with activity?
  • does the child’s cough or wheeze clear up when anti-asthma medications are used?

The more “yes” answers there are, the more likely the child has asthma.

How is an Asthma Attack Treated and Prevented?

If You Start to Have Breathing Problems

  • Stop all activity.
  • If possible, remove yourself from exposure to the trigger.
  • Sit in a relaxed position.
  • Take your rescue medication (blue puffer).
  • Repeat your rescue medication if you do not start to feel relief within 10 minutes.
  • If you have come in contact with one of your allergy triggers, take a shower or bath when feeling better.
  • If you do not feel relief from your blue puffer, you need to take action RIGHT NOW.
    • Ask another adult or neighbour to drive you to the nearest emergency room, or call an ambulance.
    • Use your blue puffer on the way to the hospital as much as needed.

What can I expect when I arrive at the hospital?

You will be given medications that will help open your airways so you can breathe easier. Hospital staff may ask you questions about your asthma, including how much rescue medication (blue puffer) you have taken on the way to the hospital.

In the emergency room

  • your pulse and blood pressure will be taken
  • oxygen may be given using a mask
  • an attachment may be placed on one of your fingers to measure the oxygen content of your blood
  • an IV may be started to give you medication that will help open your airways.

What happens after I go home from the emergency room?

Within 48-72 hours of visiting the emergency room, you should call your doctor for an appointment. You will need to review the reason why you ended up in the emergency room so that you can prevent it from happening again.

Your doctor may want you to see a certified respiratory educator to help you regain control of your asthma. Be sure to tell your doctor if any medications were changed at the hospital. Ask how long you should take the additional medication before returning to your usual asthma medications.

Steps that you can take to prevent having an asthma attack

  • Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Avoid your triggers.
  • Follow your written asthma action plan. Your asthma action plan tells you:
    • What symptoms you should watch for
    • What your symptoms mean
    • How to adjust your medication according to your symptoms
    • When to call the doctor or 911.
  • Make sure you understand your asthma. If you have any questions, ask your doctor. You can also talk about your action plan with a Certified Asthma Educator or Certified Respiratory Educator, a healthcare professional with special training in asthma management.

Asthma In Children

Find out if your child is at risk for an asthma attack, learn about the latest research in childhood asthma, and view a free asthma presentation by Dr. Sharon Dell Paediatric Respirologist and Senior Association Scientist at the hospital for Sick Children, Toronto.

Click here to learn more.

Avoid Back-to-School Flareups

Help your kids avoid the September spike in asthma symptoms

As summer winds down, many parents start gearing up for the school year. That usually means buying school supplies and longer pants. But for parents of children with asthma, getting ready for school should also include taking steps to protect their kids from the “September Spike” – the sharp rise in kids’ asthma symptoms that happens soon after school begins.

Continue reading Avoid Back-to-School Flareups

What do teachers need to know about asthma?

Watch our video on what teachers need to know about asthma.

Asthma 30 Second Control Test

Take this test to learn if your asthma is under control.

Continue reading Asthma 30 Second Control Test

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Asthma medications come in various forms

•Diskus® • MDI (metered dose inhaler) • nasal pump • nebulizer • orally • Ellipta® • Twisthaler® • Turbuhaler® • intravenous injection • nasal inhalation • Aerolizer® • oral inhalation • Diskhaler® • Respimat® • 

Watch these videos.


Products used to treat asthma include

AAdvair® Diskus® •Advair® MDI •Airomir® MDI •Alvesco® MDI •Apo-Cromolyn nasal mist •Apo-Ipravent inhalation solution •Apo-Ipravent Sterules  •Apo-Ketotifen syrup •Apo-Salvent inhalation solution •Apo-Salvent Ipravent sterules •Apo-Salvent MDI •Apo-Salvent sterules •Arnuity® Ellipta® •Asmanex®Twisthaler® •BBreo® Ellipta® •Bricanyl® Turbuhaler® •CCinqair™ •DDom-Salbutamol inhalation solution •FFlonase® nasal spray •Flovent® Diskus®  •Flovent® HFA •Foradil® Aerolizer® •OOxeze® Turbuhaler®  •PPMS-Ipratropium inhalation solution •Pulmicort® nebuamp •Pulmicort® Turbuhaler®  •QQVAR® MDI •RRatio-Salbutamol inhalation solution •Rhinaris CS® nasal mist •SSandoz Salbutamol inhalation solution •Sanis-Montelukast tablets •Sanis-Salbutamol Inhaler HFA •Serevent® Diskhaler® disks •Serevent® Diskus® •Singulair® chewable tablets •Sivem-Montelukast tablets •Spiriva® Respimat® •Symbicort® Turbuhaler® •TTeva-Combo Sterinebs •Teva-Salbutamol SteriNeb •VVentolin® Diskus® •Ventolin® HFA •Ventolin® inhalation solution •ZZaditen® syrup •Zaditen® tablets •Zenhale® •

Active ingredients used to treat asthma include

bbeclomethasone dipropionate • budesonide • cciclesonide • ffluticasone furoate • fluticasone propionate • iipratropium bromide • kketotifen • mmometasone furoate • montelukast sodium • oomalizumab • orciprenaline • oxtriphylline • pprednisone • ssalbutamol sulphate • salmeterol xinafoate • sodium cromoglycate (cromolyn sodium) • tterbutaline sulfate • theophylline • triamcinolone acetonide • zzafirlukast • 

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Page Last Updated: 14/03/2017