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Asthma Terms to Know

  • Stepwise. A “stepwise” approach to managing asthma means stepping up (increasing) or stepping down (decreasing) the amount of medication you take for your asthma. Stepping up means that your asthma is less well-controlled and that you may need additional medication. Stepping down means that your asthma is better controlled and that you may need less medication. Under this approach, you use medicine aggressively at first to get asthma under control. The goal, however, is to gradually find and use the fewest number and lowest doses of drugs that will control your asthma. 

  • Exacerbation (ex-sass-er-bay-shun). This means that your asthma symptoms have worsened or become more severe. You may need to see your doctor to find out if you need additional or new treatment.    

  • Rhinitis (rine-eye-tis). This is usually an allergic condition. It causes symptoms, such as a runny nose, a stuffy head, and possibly headaches. There are different types of rhinitis. Some cases are caused by seasonal allergens, such as pollen, which is known as hay fever. Other cases are caused by strong smells or smoke. Rhinitis is not the same as asthma, but many people have both.