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Asthma questions and answers

The more you know about asthma and its treatment, the more you'll be able to help control your breathing difficulties. Read below for the answers to some frequently asked questions about asthma.

1. How did I get asthma?

The exact cause of asthma is still unknown. But it appears to result from the complex interaction of a number of risk factors including:

  1. Family History
  2. Age and Gender
  3. Obesity
  4. Allergens
  5. Infections
  6. Tobacco Smoke
  7. Air Pollution
  8. Occupational Asthma
  9. Low Birth Weight
  10. Childhood Diet

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2. Do allergies have anything to do with my asthma?

Allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, mould, and pollen are widely recognised as triggers for asthma attacks. Some research has also pointed to these allergens as causes of asthma in susceptible children. Find out more from the Asthma triggers page of the Asthma Society of Ireland website.

3. Why is it important to take Seretide twice a day every day even if I'm feeling better?

Asthma cannot be cured so it is important to continue to take a 'maintenance' medication such as Seretide even if your symptoms are improved. If your symptoms remain improved for more than 3 months, see your doctor who may be able to reduce the strength of your 'maintenance' asthma medication. [1]

4. How does Seretide work to treat my asthma?

Seretide is a combination daily maintenance medication that contains two types of medication:

  • Inhaled Corticosteroid (ICS)
  • Long-Acting Bronchodilator

Visit the How Seretide works page of this site for more information. 

5. Why do I feel like I'm not getting enough air?

Asthma is a chronic disease that limits the flow of air in and out of your lungs. Your asthma symptoms are caused mainly by two conditions:

There are warning signs that show that your asthma is getting worse. Talk to your doctor if you notice one or more of the following:

  • A change in your symptoms such as more coughing, attacks of wheezing, chest tightness, or an unusual increase in the severity of the breathlessness
  • You wake up at night with chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath
  • You use increasing amounts of your reliever medication (e.g. salbutamol inhalation aerosol or reliever inhaler)

6. Can strong smells or chemical fumes affect asthma?

Yes, strong smells such as chemicals or perfume can trigger asthma symptoms. There are simple solutions you can try such as wearing a mask when working with chemicals.

7. Can anxiety and stress trigger asthma symptoms or an attack?

Everyone with asthma has different triggers. Emotional upsets and anxiety can trigger asthma symptoms, including a sudden asthma attack. Taking the time to relax and control stress may result in fewer asthma symptoms. If you are highly stressed and your asthma symptoms are getting worse, ask your doctor for more advice for coping with stress.

8. Can I become addicted to Seretide?

No, you cannot become addicted to Seretide.

9. Should I save Seretide for when my asthma gets really bad?

No, do not save Seretide for when your asthma gets really bad. Your doctor has prescribed Seretide as a 'maintenance' treatment to help keep your asthma symptoms under control.

10. Do I still need to be careful with asthma triggers if I am taking my asthma medications?

Yes, you will still need to be careful with your asthma triggers even after taking your asthma medications.

Avoiding your personal asthma triggers is the most effective way to control your symptoms. Find out more from the Asthma triggers page of the Asthma Society of Ireland website.

11. What are the common side effects of Seretide?

For more information on Seretide safety and side effects, please read the Seretide Diskus and Evohaler patient information leaflet.

12. Are the steroids used in Seretide the same as performance-enhancing (anabolic) steroids?

No, the inhaled corticosteroids used for controlling asthma are not the same as performance-enhancing (anabolic) steroids. The steroid used in Seretide is an inhaled corticosteroid or ICS. ICS are used to treat breathing problems because they help reduce inflammation. ICS are inhaled directly into your lungs and help reduce the swelling and irritation in the walls of the small air passages in the lungs. Read more about how Seretide works.

13. How can I know that I'm taking Seretide correctly?

Your doctor, asthma nurse or pharmacist can demonstrate how to use your Seretide inhaler correctly. Every Seretide package includes illustrated step-by-step instructions.

14. Are there tests to tell if my asthma is not under control?

Yes, there are tests you can take to tell if your asthma is not under control. You can help manage your asthma symptoms by routinely checking your level of asthma control. Uncontrolled asthma can lead to more asthma symptoms and an increase of asthma attacks. Take the Asthma Control Test.

15. What should I know about exercising with asthma?

Generally, exercise is a positive, beneficial activity for people with asthma. Exercise is possible when your asthma is under control. See your doctor or asthma nurse if you are experiencing asthma symptoms while exercising, as this may be a sign of worsening asthma control. Keep in mind that the benefits of regular exercise frequently outweigh the risks. Always talk to your doctor or asthma nurse before starting an exercise program.

16. How can I live with my asthma and have pets?

Although pets bring great joy and companionship, they can also trigger asthma symptoms. People frequently assume it is fur or feathers that trigger asthma symptoms. However, people with asthma can be sensitive to an animal:

  • dander or particles of skin
  • saliva
  • oil secretions
  • urine or faeces

Find out more from the Asthma triggers page of the Asthma Society of Ireland website.

17. Why is my asthma only worse during certain seasons?

Simply put, different seasons can trigger asthma symptoms. Find out more from the Asthma triggers page of the Asthma Society of Ireland website.

18. Can the environment affect my asthma symptoms?

Yes, the environment can affect your asthma symptoms. You can find many potential asthma triggers in both indoor and outdoor environments. You have more control over your indoor environment than the outdoor environment. Keeping your home, workplace, and frequently-used areas smoke-free, clean and dry will help reduce your asthma triggers. Find out more from the Asthma Triggers page of the Asthma Society of Ireland website.

19. How can I tell when my asthma is out of control?

You can help manage your asthma symptoms by routinely checking your level of asthma control by completing the Asthma Control Test. There are warning signs that show that your asthma is getting worse. Talk to your doctor or asthma nurse if you notice one or more of the following:

  • A change in your symptoms such as more coughing, attacks of wheezing, chest tightness, or an unusual increase in the severity of the breathlessness.
  • You wake up at night with chest tightness, wheezing or shortness of breath.
  • You use increasing amounts of your fact-acting relief medication (e.g. salbutamol inhalation aerosol or reliever inhaler).

If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, pharmacist or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed on this website or in the product package leaflet. You can also report side effects directly to the HPRA Pharmacovigilance, Earlsfort Terrace, Dublin 2; Tel: +353 1 6764971; Fax: +353 1 6762517. Website: www.hpra.ie; e-mail:medsafety@hpra.ie.

By reporting side effects you can help provide more information on the safety of this medicine.

Seretide, Diskus and Evohaler are trademarks of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies.