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Asthma

Pneumonia and asthma

09/14/2009

Question:

Can pneumonia cause asthma in someone who never had either one of the ailments?

Answer:

Based on the information I have reviewed it is not known if respiratory infections such as pneumonia can cause asthma.  However, for a period of time following pneumonia (and other types of lung infections) the airways (breathing tubes) contain mucous and are inflammed which produce symptoms similar to asthma.  The symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing and wheezing and may be treated with the same types of medications used to treat asthma. 

Respiratory infections can cause exacerbations or worsening of asthma.

Risk factors for asthma include:
Gender - asthma is more common in women during the teen and adult years.
Allergies - many people with allergies also have asthma.
Genetics - asthma tends to run in families.
Occupational exposures - certain jobs expose people to lung irritants which in turn cause the airways to become reactive.
Inhalational accidents such as inhalational injuries from fires.
Obesity - being overweight increases you chances of asthma
Smoking and second hand smoke irritates the airways causing them to become more reactive. 

For more information:

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Response by:

Cathy   Benninger, RN, MS, APRN, C-AE Cathy Benninger, RN, MS, APRN, C-AE
Clinical Assistant Professor
Director, OSU Asthma Center Educational Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University