Asthma Facts

Primatene® MIST is only intended for temporary relief of mild symptoms of intermittent asthma. Do not use unless a doctor said you have asthma.


  • For oral inhalation only
  • Asthma alert: Because asthma may be life threatening, see a doctor if you
    • are not better in 20 minutes
    • get worse
    • need more than 8 inhalations in 24 hours
    • have more than 2 asthma attacks in a week
  • These may be signs that your asthma is getting worse

Controlling Asthma


Coping with asthma can be difficult and frightening, especially if emergency care is needed. Asthma sufferers may have concerns about medications, the symptoms they treat and their proper use. People who may have asthma and their families need to be informed about when to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment (including making an asthma action plan), how to best treat asthma at home, how to prevent asthma episodes, and how to monitor physical activities. In addition, parents of asthmatic children need to be able to communicate effectively with their child's doctor, teachers, principal, and other school personnel.


Predicting an asthma episode is not the same for everyone, and early-warning signs may change from episode to episode. Before warning signs develop, make sure you have an asthma action plan prepared with your doctor. If you don't have an asthma action plan, talk to your doctor.
Warning signs may include:

  • A drop in your peak-flow reading (earliest warning sign!)
    • If you don't know what a peak-flow reading is, talk to your doctor
  • A chronic cough, especially at night
  • Difficult or rapid breathing
  • Chest tightness or discomfort
  • Running out of breath more easily than usual
  • Wheezing

Learn About Asthma Triggers

People with asthma have overly sensitive air passages. Common things that cause little or no trouble for most of us can leave people with asthma struggling for breath. Substances or conditions that bring on asthma attacks in certain people are called asthma triggers. Primatene® MIST is not intended to treat the cause of asthma symptoms. But avoiding the causes of your asthma can help you keep your asthma under better control. Asthma symptoms have two common types of causes:

A. Allergic triggers: Allergens (things that cause allergic reactions) most often cause asthma symptoms by entering the lungs as you breathe. An asthmatic person may be allergic to one or more common allergens found in the environment.

The following are common allergens:

  • Indoor or outdoor molds, pollen
  • Animal dander (flakes from the skin, hair, or feathers of any warm-blooded pet, including dogs, cats, birds, rodents, and horses)
  • Dog hair and saliva
  • Cat hair and saliva
  • Dust mite particles (from microscopic insects present in house dust)
  • Cockroach particles
  • Sulfites used as a preservative in some foods and beverages, such as olives and wine
  • Certain medications such as penicillin or aspirin

Some allergies are easy to identify, like cat dander and pollen; others are harder to identify, such as house dust. Your physician can identify possible allergic triggers by asking detailed questions or through skin testing.

B. Non-allergic triggers: These have nothing to do with allergies, but cause the same airway changes as allergic triggers (i.e., airway swelling, mucus increase, and airway narrowing).

Materials (irritants) in the air:

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Wood smoke, pine odors
  • Room deodorizers, fresh paint, household cleaning products, cooking odors, perfumes and cosmetics
  • Chemical fumes, outdoor air pollution (smog, exhaust from cars and buses, smoke from factories and power plants), natural gas, propane or kerosene
  • Heating units (using gas, wood, coal or kerosene)
  • Respiratory infections–common colds, the flu, or sinus infections
  • Exercise
  • Cold air or sudden changes in weather/air temperature-cooling, storm fronts, high humidity


Discuss with your doctor how to identify the allergens or irritants that affect you, and determine which actions are going to be most helpful in reducing your asthma symptoms.

C. Actions that can help remove or avoid some asthma allergens and irritants:

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Cigarette smoking and secondhand cigarette smoke: If you smoke, ask your doctor for ways to help you quit. Ask family members to quit smoking, too. Do not allow smoking in your home or car.

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Strong odors and sprays: Avoid perfumes and perfumed cosmetics, room deodorizers, and household cleaning products whenever possible. Do not stay in a house that is being painted (allow enough time for the paint to dry).

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Cold and infections: Avoid people with colds or the flu. Discuss flu vaccines with your doctor. Don't take over-the-counter cold medicines before checking with your doctor.

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Pets: The elimination of animal dander by removing dogs and cats from the home is desirable. If this is not possible, keep the bedroom free of pets.

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Molds: Reduce exposure to molds or mildew with good ventilation and by reducing humidity.

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Dust: If there is sensitivity to dust mites, mattresses and pillows should be encased in plastic covers (or wash the pillow once a week, every week). Wash bed covers, clothes, and stuffed toys once a week in hot water. Avoid sleeping or lying on upholstered furniture. Avoid using a vacuum cleaner or leave the room while it is being vacuumed. Remove carpets from the bedroom.

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Insects: Control of cockroach infestations is important when there is sensitivity to these pests.

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Weather: Pull a turtleneck over your nose or wear a scarf over the mouth and nose in cold weather.

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Outdoor pollens and molds: Stay indoors at midday and during the afternoon when the pollen count is high. If possible, use air conditioning. Keep windows closed during pollen and mold seasons. Avoid mold sources (wet leaves, garden debris).

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Exercise: Discuss with your doctor a medication plan that allows physical activity without symptoms. Warm up before doing exercise and cool down afterwards.

Where Can I Get More Information About Asthma?

These websites provide information about the management and treatment of asthma.