Smoke and smoking can bring on an asthma attack and even the elderly can still benefit from giving up smoking. Relatives should try not to smoke any where near an elderly relative. Medical Help Many elderly do not like to bother their G.P with what they think is minor problems, telling themselves it s just a cold or touch of flu etc, They do not tell them that their asthma is getting worse or that the wheezing will not stop. Doctors define asthma as chronic inflammatory disease of the airway that causes many symptoms including: - Shortness of breath - Chronic cough - Wheezing - Tightness in the chest With these symptoms or their early onset a doctor is able to conduct lung-function tests. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to assist in the conclusive determination as to whether the disease is present or not. Get into a regular cleaning schedule to battle the effects of pet dander and dust mites, both irritants that might hamper breathing and cause undue suffering in asthmatic patients. Regularly washing fabrics helps fight these irritants. It s important to breathe easy in the home above all, so get into the groove of cleaning and be free of dust mites and other airborne irritants. If someone in the home has asthma, make the environment as clean and breathing-friendly as possible. Eliminating smoke is one very important step in making living with asthma no big deal at all. Being smoke-free actually helps everyone breathe a little easier in the home, not just people who live with asthma. Asthma sufferers should do what they can to avoid smoky situations at work, as well, and always step outside for fresh air if trapped in an enclosed space with a cigarette smoker. New laws banning cigarettes in public locations are being passed all the time, and this makes living with asthma a lot easier. Discourage the use of drugs and smoking that can aggravate and in some cases bring on a severe attack. It would be nice if your teen could meet other young people suffering with asthma, so they can swap stories, develop friendships and support each other. A lot of teenagers do not understand exactly what asthma is so explain to them in detail.