Pedipress - Asthma research and resources for children, teens, adults, parents, healthcare professionals, and the elderly Cough, wheeze, sucking in the chest skin (retractions), and breathing faster are the major common signs of an asthma attack in children. Health professionals, librarians, and teachers - helpful educational materials
asthma education, learning about asthma, asthma research,  asthma publishings, books, journals, diaries,  information metered dose inhalers, holding chambers, and compressor-driven nebulizers Pedipress - The Nations Leading Asthma Publisher - Dr. Thomas Plaut
Asthma emergency guide, preschool, teachers, aides, coaches, immediate transport, 911, medical facility, seriousness, hospitalizations, nurses, daycare staff About Pedipress About Dr. Plaut Contact Us Privacy Policy Asthma Care
quantitative assessment, cough, retractions, and symptoms, shortness of breath, early childhood education program, Chicago public schools Contact Information - Phone: (413) 549-7798 - Toll Free: (800) 611-6081 - Fax: (413) 549-4905 Amherst, MA, Massachusetts, Pioneer Valley
These are the books that we have written and published.
En Espanol - Spanish Translations for Our Books
Diaries and Action Plans
Asthma Learning Tool
Health Professionals
Parents and Patients
Disease Managemnet
Place your order here
Links to Asthma Related Websites and Services
Frequently Asked Questions of Pedipress
Quick and easy navigation of our website through our sitemap

Glossary of Commom Asthma Terms

PrintePriPrinter Friendly

acceptance: agreement by patient to a treatment routine they understand
Accolate: brand name for zafirlukast, a leukotriene modifier (oral)
acute: sudden
adrenal insufficiency: inability of the body’s adrenal glands to produce an adequate amount of cortisol, the hormone needed to respond to stress
adrenaline (epinephrine): a quick relief medicine, produced by the body and available in synthetic form
adrenergic: adrenaline-like medicine
adverse: undesirable
Aerobid: brand name for flunisolide, an inhaled steroid medicine, controller
AeroChamber: brand of holding chamber
Air Watch: airflow monitoring device with electronic link to the doctor
airflow: the rate at which you can blow air out of your lungs
albuterol: generic name of Proventil and Ventolin; beta2-agonists, quick relief medicines
allergen: any substance that can induce an allergy
allergist: doctor who specializes in understanding and treating allergies
allergy: condition in which the body has an immune reaction to a substance that is normally harmless
alveoli: air sacs located at the end of the tiniest airways
ampule (ampoule): small, sealed vial containing medicine in liquid form
anaphylaxis: severe allergic reaction throughout the body which can be fatal if not treated immediately; commonly includes respiratory symptoms, itching, hives, and fainting
antibody: protein that develops in the body in response to a foreign substance (antigen)
anticholinergic: type of inhaled quick relief medicine that acts through a different mechanism than beta2-agonists
antihistamine: generic name for medicine that blocks the actions of histamine, such as swelling and itching
antiinflammatory: medicine that counteracts inflammation
asthma: inflammatory disease of the airways characterized by airways that are hyperresponsive and symptoms that can be reversed
Asthma Peak Flow Diary: an individual record of peak flow scores, medicines, asthma signs, and triggers; helps in monitoring peak flow trends in people 5 years and older
asthma signs: physical indicators of asthma that can observed by another person
Asthma Signs Diary: an individual record of asthma signs scores, medicines, and triggers that helps in monitoring the trends in asthma signs in children under 5 years of age
asthma treatment zone: a range of peak flow scores or total scores of asthma signs that calls for following a particular treatment plan
asymptomatic: without symptoms
atopic: allergic
Atrovent: brand name for ipratropium bromide, an inhaled quick relief medicine
attack: a dramatic term for an episode of asthma
Azmacort: brand name for triamcinolone, an inhaled steroid medicine, controller
beclomethasone: generic name for Vanceril, Beclovent, and Qvar, inhaled steroid medicines, controller
Beclovent: brand name for beclomethasone, an inhaled steroid medicine, controller
beta-blockers: medicines that block the action of beta-agonist medicines, and responses of the sympathetic nervous system
beta2-agonist: a class of quick relief medicine
b.i.d.: a dosing schedule calling for medicine to be taken twice a day
blood concentration: amount of a substance in a given quantity of blood expressed as weight per unit volume (e.g., mg/ml)
blow-by technique: a low-efficiency method for administering inhaled medicines
breath-activated: method for triggering the release of medicine from a device by inhalation
breathing cycle: total time it takes to breathe in and out once
breathing rate: number of breaths per minute
Brethaire: brand name for terbutaline, an inhaled beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine
Brethine: a brand name for terbutaline, an inhaled beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine
Bricanyl: a brand name for terbutaline, an inhaled beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine
bronchi: large air passages or airways
bronchiolitis: inflammation of the smallest airways (bronchioles); caused by a virus
bronchitis: inflammation of the large airways (bronchi)
bronchoconstriction: narrowing of the airways caused by contraction of the smooth muscles encircling them (same as bronchospasm)
bronchodilator: medicine that causes the airways to open
bronchospasm: narrowing of the airways caused by contraction of the smooth muscles encircling them (same as bronchoconstriction)
budesonide: generic name for Pulmicort, an inhaled steroid medicine, controller
candidiasis: yeast infection in the mouth or vagina; same as moniliasis
capillary: tiniest blood vessel
cartilage: strong, flexible tissue that supports the large airways
cc: abbreviation for cubic centimeter; equivalent to a milliliter or 1/1000 of a liter. This metric measurement is equal to 1/5 of a measuring teaspoon.
CDN: compressor driven nebulizer
CFC: chlorofluorocarbon; propellant used in most metered dose inhalers
chemical mediator: class of chemical that plays a role in the asthma reaction; includes histamine and leukotrienes
chronic: continuous or long-term
cilia: tiny hairlike projections from the surface of the cells that line the airway
closed mouth technique: a method for inhaling medicine from an MDI; open-mouth technique is preferred
compliance: doing exactly what the doctor says, whether or not you understand it
compressor: machine that produces air under pressure
compressor driven nebulizer (CDN): electric- or battery-powered device that uses compressed air to create a medicine mist
consultation: full review of a patient’s asthma history, physical exam, and other information; leads to the creation of a written asthma management plan
controlled-release: same as long-acting, sustained-release, or slow-release; applies to some theophylline and albuterol preparations
controller: medicine that prevents or reduces the frequency and severity of asthma episodes, taken daily
corticosteroid: another term for a steroid or cortisone-like medicine
coughing asthma: form of asthma in which coughing is the only symptom
cromolyn: generic name for Intal, controller medicine that prevents mast cells in the airways from releasing asthma-causing chemicals
croup: illness usually produced by a virus, in which the larynx and trachea are inflamed; produces a barking cough
dander: scales of dead skin
decongestant: a medicine that reduces congestion (swelling)
discard date: date when an MDI should be thrown away because it will no longer deliver a full puff of medicine
Diskus: brand name for dry powder inhaler device
diurnal variation: change within a day
DPI: dry powder inhaler
dry powder inhaler: device for inhaling asthma medicines in powder form; dependent on the force of inhalation to disperse medicine into the lungs
EasiVent: brand of holding chamber
eczema: a skin rash, also known as atopic dermatitis
effort monitor: part of a holding chamber which indicates the effort a person is making when inhaling medicine
electrostatic air precipitator: air cleaner
eosinophils: white blood cells involved in inflammation
ephedrine: oral adrenergic medicine, bronchodilator; no longer commonly used because of its adverse effects
epinephrine (adrenaline): a quick relief medicine, produced by the body and available in synthetic form
EpiPen: brand name for epinephrine for intramuscular use (injection); used to treat anaphylaxis
episode (flare): period of time when asthma signs or symptoms occur, peak flow scores drop, breathing is changed, or additional asthma medicine is needed
exacerbation: worsening
exercise induced asthma: a form of asthma in which exercise is the only trigger
exhale: to breathe out
expiration: act of breathing out
extended-release: medicine preparation that acts over a longer period of time than the standard preparation; also called slow-release, sustained-release
E-Z Spacer: brand of holding chamber
family practitioner: primary care physician who sees patients of all ages
FEV1: forced expiratory volume in one second. This measurement of airflow is done using a spirometer. It provides information about the status of the large and small airways
flare (episode): period of time when asthma signs or symptoms occur, peak flow scores drop, breathing is changed, or additional asthma medicine is needed
Flovent: brand name for fluticasone, an inhaled steroid medicine available in MDI or DPI, controller
flow monitor: part of a holding chamber which makes a sound if inhalation is too fast
flunisolide: generic name for Aerobid, an inhaled steroid medicine, controller
fluticasone: generic name for Flovent, an inhaled steroid medicine, controller
gastroesophageal reflux: backward flow of material from stomach to the esophagus; causes irritation which can lead to bronchospasm
green zone: asthma treatment zone in which there are no symptoms and peak flow is 80 to 100 percent of the personal best
growth retardation: slowing of rate at which height increases
Gyrocap: capsule containing Slo-Phyllin, a slow-release theophylline preparation, controller
hay fever: allergic condition of the nose and eyes brought on mainly by ragweed or other pollen
HEPA filter: abbreviation for a “high-efficiency particulate air” filter; removes tiny particles from the air
HFA propellant: hydrofluoroalkane, a propellant used in MDIs which does not destroy ozone in the stratosphere (upper atmosphere)
high yellow zone: asthma treatment zone in which there are only mild symptoms and peak flow is 65 to 80 percent of personal best
histamine: one of the chemical mediators of the asthma reaction
hives: itchy swellings of skin usually due to allergy
holding chamber: inhalation device used with a metered dose inhaler that holds the medicine mist to improve medicine effect
home care company: organization that provides many aspects of asthma care in the home, including teaching, monitoring, and review of environment and treatment
hyperresponsive: refers to airways that overreact to various asthma triggers
hyperventilation: excessive rate and depth of breathing
IAQ: indoor air quality
I/E ratio (I/O ratio): in/out ratio, or relative length of inspiration compared to expiration
IgE: immunoglobulin E, an antibody that reacts with an allergen, initiating the asthma reaction
immunotherapy: synonymous with allergy shots, injection treatment, hyposensitization, desensitization
indication: reason to use
indoor air quality (IAQ): overall healthfulness of the air inside a building
inflammation: a response of the body to physical or chemical triggers; includes swelling due to movement of cells, fluid, and chemicals into the area
inhalation device: apparatus for inhaling asthma medicine
inhaled steroid: inhaled medicine that prevents inflammation in the airways and reduces inflammation that already exists; the most commonly prescribed type of controller medicine for people with persistent asthma
inhaler: also metered dose inhaler (MDI). Device that uses propellant to create a medicine mist that can be breathed into the airways
I/O ratio (I/E ratio): in/out ratio, or relative length of inspiration compared to expiration
inspiration: act of breathing in
InspirEase: brand of holding chamber
inspiration-expiration ratio: see in/out (I/O) ratio
Intal: brand name for cromolyn, controller
intermittent flow director: a vent in the nebulizer tubing that, when covered, allows production of mist
internist: primary care physician who sees adult patients
intradermal: into the skin
intravenous: into a vein
intubation: placing a tube into the trachea to enable artificial breathing; can be a lifesaving procedure during a severe asthma episode
ipratropium: generic name for Atrovent, an anticholinergic medicine, quick relief medicine
irritant: a nonallergenic substance that may provoke a reaction in the airways
kg: kilogram; 1,000 grams or 2.2 pounds
levalbuterol: generic name for Xopenex, a beta2-agonist; quick relief medicine
leukotriene: chemical mediator involved in the asthma reaction
leukotriene modifier medicine: class of medicine that blocks the formation or action of leukotrienes in the airways, thereby blocking part of the asthma reaction, controller
liter (L): metric measurement, slightly more than a quart
liters/minute (L/min): a flow rate, applied to peak flow or oxygen delivery
long-acting: synonymous with slow-release or sustained-release when referring to a theophylline or beta2-agonist preparation
low yellow zone: asthma treatment zone in which symptoms are moderate and peak flow is 50 to 65 percent of personal best
malingering: pretending to be ill
mask: a device that fits snugly over the nose and mouth; used to help deliver inhaled asthma medicines
mast cell: one of the cell types that contain chemicals which can produce the asthma reaction
Maxair: brand name for pirbuterol, a beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine
Maxair Autohaler: brand name for an MDI with a special “breath-activated” release mechanism; contains pirbuterol (quick relief medicine)
mcg: microgram, 1/1,000,000 (one millionth) of a gram
MDI: metered dose inhaler
mean (average) peak flow score: the average peak flow score for people of a certain height, expressed in liters per minute
mediator: a chemical that is the middleman or go-between in the asthma reaction
medicine retaining valve: valve in the exit port of a holding chamber which holds medicine until a person begins to breathe in
Medrol: brand name of methylprednisolone, an oral steroid
metabolize: to change chemically or physically in the body
metered dose inhaler (MDI): device that creates medicine mist for inhalation by using propellant to expel liquid medicine
metaproterenol: generic name for beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine
methylprednisolone: generic name for Medrol, oral steroid medicine
methotrexate: immunosuppresive drug used to treat severe asthma that does not respond to usual treatment; also used to treat cancer
micron: micrometer, 1/1,000,000 (one millionth) of a meter
mg: milligram, 1/1,000 (one thousandth) of a gram
mite: tiny arachnid (spiderlike animal); skeleton and feces are found in house dust
ml: milliliter, 1/1,000 of a liter; same as a cubic centimeter (cc)
moniliasis (candidiasis): yeast infection in the mouth or vagina
monitoring: keeping track of
montelukast: generic name for Singulair, a leukotriene modifier medicine, controller
mouthpiece: part of an asthma device which is put in the mouth
mucus: protective and cleansing material produced by glands in the airways, nose, sinuses, and elsewhere in the body
nebulizer (nebulizer cup): the small plastic device that converts liquid medicine into a mist for inhalation
normal (tidal) breath: usual breathing volume when no extra effort is made
onset of action: time span from when a medicine is inhaled or swallowed until it starts to work
open mouth technique: effective method for inhaling medicine from a metered dose inhaler
osteoporosis: decrease in bone density causing increased bone fragility
ozone: a form of oxygen (O3) that is a respiratory irritant; one component of smog; see ozone layer
ozone layer: layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere which encircles the Earth, protecting the surface from harmful effects of cancer-causing ultraviolet light
palate: roof of mouth
peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR): speed at which air exits the lungs when you give your fastest blast (a fraction of a second); also known as peak flow
peak flow meter: a device used to measure peak expiratory flow rate
peak flow score: the best of three attempts blown on the peak flow meter, expressed in liters per minute

peak flow zone: one of the four treatment zones of asthma management as defined by peak flow scores
Pediapred: brand name of prednisolone, an oral steroid
pediatrician: primary care physician for children
persistent asthma: condition in which a person experiences asthma symptoms two or more times a week (when taking no asthma medicine)
personal best peak flow score: highest peak flow score that an individual has blown on two separate days when the airways are completely clear and technique is good
pirbuterol: generic name for Maxair; beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine
pollen: potent allergen shed during a plant’s flowering season
pollutant: impurity or substance that contaminates the air
post bronchodilator: airflow that occurs after inhaling a quick relief medicine
ppm: parts per million. Number of molecules of a particular substance (e.g., a pollutant) found in a million molecules of air, water, etc.
prebronchodilator: rate of airflow that occurs before inhaling a quick relief medicine
prednisone: generic name of oral steroid medicine; many brand names
prednisolone: generic name for Prelone and Pediapred; oral steroid medicine
Prelone: a brand name for prednisolone, an oral steroid
prick test: type of skin test for allergy
Proventil HFA: brand name for albuterol; beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine with non-CFC propellant in the MDI; beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine
Proventil Repetabs: brand name for long-acting albuterol preparation; oral
puffer: another word for inhaler or MDI
Pulmicort Turbuhaler: brand name for a dry powder inhaler containing budesonide; inhaled steroid, controller
pulmonary function test: a test or series of tests used to measure various aspects of lung function and capacity
pulmonologist: doctor specializing in the care of people with lung diseases
q.i.d.: four times per day dosing schedule
quick relief medicine: inhaled medicine that acts to open constricted airways within minutes (e.g., inhaled beta2-agonists)
QVAR: brand name for beclomethasone, an inhaled steroid medicine; controller
RAST: radioimmunosorbent test, an allergy test that measures IgE (antibody) to a specific antigen
RAD: abbreviation for reactive airway disease, a name for asthma
red zone: asthma treatment zone in which symptoms are severe and peak flow is less than 50 percent of personal best; requires immediate treatment
relative humidity: amount of water in the air compared to the total amount of water the air can hold at a given temperature
rescue medicine: quick relief medicine
respiratory therapist: health professional who provides assessment, treatment, and education for people with lung disease
respirable range: size of particles that can be inhaled into the small airways (1 to 5 microns in diameter)
retraction:“sucking in” of the skin between the ribs or above and below the breast bone
ROAD: reversible obstructive airway disease, a term that is sometimes used to describe the asthma condition
runout time: length of time it takes for the effect of a medicine to disappear after the last dose; may be minutes, hours, or days
salmeterol: generic name for Serevent; inhaled long-acting beta2-agonist, controller
sensitization: process of becoming sensitized to an allergen
sensitizer: allergen or irritant that primes the asthma reaction
Serevent: brand name for salmeterol, controller
serum: the liquid portion of the blood
serum level: the amount of medicine in a quantity of serum
shake test: shaking the MDI canister, an unreliable method for determining whether the MDI can deliver a full puff of medicine
side effect: undesired or adverse effect of medicine
sign: an effect that can be seen or heard by an observer
Singulair: brand name for montelukast, a leukotriene modifier medicine, controller
sinuses: one of the eight bone-enclosed cavities surrounding the nose
sinusitis: inflammation of one or more paranasal (around the nose) sinuses
small airways: airways less than 2 mm in diameter; bronchioles
Space Chamber: brand of holding chamber
spacer: device used with an MDI to improve effectiveness; also known as “holding chamber” or “extender”
Spinhaler: brand name for dry-powder device containing cromolyn; controller medicine; no longer available in the U.S.
spirometer: device used in a doctor’s office to measure various components of airflow
spirometry: the act of using a spirometer
step down: method for bringing asthma under control quickly, then gradually decreasing medicines to the lowest effective dose
steroid burst: a short treatment with oral steroids, usually lasting for seven days or less
steroid: type of hormone produced by the adrenal cortex which has antiinflammatory effects. Also, medicine similar to this hormone that is given by inhalation or orally to help control asthma
subcutaneous: under the skin
sustained-release: synonymous with long-acting or extended-release; refers to theophylline and beta2-agonist preparations
sympathomimetic: produces the same effect as epinephrine injection or stimulation of sympathetic nervous system
symptom: any effect on your body that you can feel that is different from usual; for example, a tight chest or shortness of breath
terbutaline: generic name for Brethaire, Brethine, Bricanyl; beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine
Theo-24: brand name for a long-acting theophylline preparation, controller, oral
Theo-Dur: brand name for a long-acting theophylline preparation, controller, oral
theophylline: slow-acting brochodilator medicine; controller, oral
tidal breathing: normal, relaxed breathing
toxicity: quality of being poisonous; the adverse effect(s) of a medicine
triamcinolone: generic name for Azmacort, inhaled steroid preparation (controller)
trigger: instigator; precipitating factor in causing airway inflammation and asthma symptoms
twitchy: overreactive, hyperresponsive; used in reference to airways
ultrasonic: sound waves above the range that humans can hear; can cause a medicine solution to turn into a mist
ultrasonic nebulizer: device that uses sound waves to create medicine mist; usually small, light, and portable. It should not be used to deliver a suspension, such as Pulmicort.
unit dose: medicine in liquid or pill form that is packaged in individual doses
Uni-Dur: brand name for a long-acting theophylline preparation, controller, oral
Uni-Phyl: brand name for a long-acting theophylline preparation, controller, oral
USN: ultrasonic nebulizer
valve: device that regulates the flow of air or other substance
Vanceril: brand name for beclomethasone; an inhaled steroid medicine, controller
vent: tube that can be uncovered to interrupt the flow of air into a compressor driven nebulizer cup
Ventolin: brand name for albuterol, a beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine
voice box: larynx, part of the upper airways which lies between the throat and the trachea
wheeze: high-pitched whistling that occurs when air flows through narrowed airways
white blood cells: cells whose main function is to defend the body from bacteria and allergens
Windmill Trainer: a feedback device for people who use a MiniWright peak flow meter to improve their ability to blow peak flow
workup: evaluation of a patient
Xopenex: brand name for levalbuterol, a beta2-agonist, quick relief medicine
zafirlukast: generic name for Accolate, a leukotriene modifier; controller
zone borders: limits of the asthma treatment zones as defined by peak flow or total score of asthma signs
zileuton: generic name for Zyflo, a leukotriene modifier medicine; controller
Zyflo: brand name for the zileuton, a leukotriene modifier medicine; controller

Home - Books - En Espanol - Diaries & Action Plans - Asthma Learning Tool - Healthcare Professionals
Training - Parents & Patients - Schools - Disease Management - Ordering Information - Asthma Resources
F.A.Q. - Site Map - About Pedipress - About Dr. Plaut - Contact Information - Privacy Policy

Copyright 1996-2008 - Pedipress Publishers - All Rights Reserved

Website Design, Maintenance & Search Engine Optimization by Focus Power

Interactive tool, managing asthma, triggers, signings, symptoms, medicines, guiding therapy, blocked airways, reduce hospitalization, pediatrics, relate changes, wheezing, retractions
Learning in the waiting room, busy schedules, teaching, reduce complaints, no long waits, methods, allergists, pediatricians, respiratory therapists, focused visit, questions, rationale, vigorous physical activity, swelling airways, quick relief, results, learning, learn, positive comments, 5-year-old, concise, informative, reading assignments diagnosis, treatment, education of patients, consistency, vocabulary
Asthma peak flow diary, powerful tool, managing asthma, help for teenagers, parents, adult patients, clinical information, guiding therapy, assessing the progress, children under 5, pediatric practice, asthma episodes, suspected triggers, medication routine, effective treatment plan, color-coded, rescue doses, albuterol Teaching tips, asthma signs diary, effective use, medicines, signs and symptoms, comments, consultation, triggers, cold air, cigarette smoke, cats, exercise, health-care providers, dose, dosage, inhaler, inhaled steroids single term, written materials, booklet, diary, action plan, equipment, medicines, encouragement