Medication Myths – Know Your Asthma Facts

There are many misconceptions about living with asthma and asthma treatment. Below we have gathered some of the most common myths when it comes to asthma medication. If you have questions about your medication always speak with your healthcare professional.

“Everyone that has asthma is the same.”
FALSE – Asthma is a variable disease which means it varies from one person to another, both in its severity and treatment.

“You only have asthma when you are having trouble with your breathing.”
FALSE – Asthma is a chronic (life-long disease) that can be a serious and life-threatening when left untreated. Asthma does not go away just because you are not having symptoms; you need to control your asthma everyday.

“You only need to take your medications when you are having trouble breathing.”
FALSE – Asthma means you have airway inflammation that needs to be treated daily with your controller medication. The benefits of use far outweigh any risk.  Your reliever should be taken at the first sign of symptoms.

“I feel better after I take my medication for a while so now I can stop taking them.”
FALSE – You need to understand that your medications are doing their job, which is why you are feeling better. If you stop taking them, the airway inflammation may return.

 “Your child will outgrow their asthma.”
FALSE – Asthma is a life-long condition that always needs attention.  Your child’s asthma may get less severe as they get older but it can return at any time.

 “I do not want my child to take steroids because they are dangerous.”
FALSEAsthma medications are inhaled, not swallowed, which means they act locally and are not absorbed throughout the body.  They are not the anabolic steroids that bodybuilders use. Studies have shown that correct inhaler use and technique make the use of medications safe to use over time.

“Steroids will stunt my child’s growth.”
FALSE – Studies have shown the use of inhaled steroids in children do not alter normal growth. Untreated asthma can result in permanent lung damage, which may have an effect of normal growth patterns. Work with your healthcare provider to find the right medications for your child’s asthma.

“Sports and physical activity must be avoided if you have asthma.”
FALSE – Having asthma does not mean that you or your child should limit physical activity.  If your activity/exercise levels are not normal, it means that your asthma is not well controlled.  There are many professional athletes that compete because they have learned to control their asthma.

“I have a hypoallergenic dog so it won’t bother my child.”
FALSE – A dog allergy means you are allergic to a protein found in their saliva, dander, fur or hair so reducing exposure is extremely difficult. Continued exposure will not make you less allergic to your pet. If you have a pet you can not remove from the home, you need to limit exposure and ensure the dog does not stay in the child’s bedroom.

“Allergies do not need to be treated in asthma.”
FALSE – Allergies play an important part in triggering your asthma and making it difficult to control.  Have your allergies diagnosed with proper testing and learn how to minimize the exposure, thus minimize their effect on your asthma.

“Asthma can be cured.”
FALSE – There is currently no cure for asthma but there are safe, effective ways to control your asthma so that you can live a normal, active, symptom free life.

“Asthma is all in your head.”
FALSE – Asthma is not imagined or faked.  Asthma occurs because you have airway inflammation and bronchoconstriction in your airways. Stress, crying, yelling and laughing can all trigger asthma symptoms if your asthma is poorly controlled, possibly leading to an asthma attack.

 “Alternative medications are as effective as prescribed medications.”
FALSE – The safety of alternative therapy has not been established.  Discuss all your concerns with a healthcare professional.

Did you know?…

  • Asthma is a lifelong condition that can be effectively managed, but there is currently no cure.
  • Canadian physicians significantly underestimate the extent to which patients’ asthma is controlled.
  • Education and self-management skills go a long way in helping patients with asthma monitor and manage their condition on a daily basis.

Quick Facts:

  • Asthma affects approximately 4.6 million people in Canada (including approximately 900,000 children under the age of 19).
  • It is estimated that more than half of people living with asthma in Canada, do not have control of their condition. 
  • Approximately 250 people in Canada die from asthma each year.
  • It is estimated that more than 80 per cent of asthma deaths could be prevented with improved asthma education.
  • The direct and indirect cost of asthma to the Canadian economy is expected to climb to $4.6 billion by 2030.
  • In Canada, asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism from school and the third leading cause of work loss.

Learn more at Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Questions?

Our Asthma & Allergy HelpLine is here to help! Contact us to be connected with a Certified Respiratory Educator who can answer your asthma questions and provide you with personalized education and support.