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Asthma is a chronic lung disease that makes it hard to breath. When a person has asthma, their airways are more sensitive to certain triggers. When a person is exposed to a trigger, their bronchioles or airways react by producing mucous, tightening the muscles that go around the bronchioles, and the airways become narrower due to inflammation. 

The Salt Lake County Health Department asthma program provides asthma education and conducts a free home visiting assessment program for county residents with asthma.

Contact the asthma program at 385-468-5250 or

Symptoms and Triggers

Signs and symptoms vary across person to person but some of the most common signs and symptoms of asthma include the following: 

  • Wheezing
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Tight chest
  • Sweating

A trigger is something that causes you to experience asthma symptoms. There are many different triggers but some of the most common triggers are listed.

  • Air pollution
  • Dust
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Pet dander
  • Exercise
  • Pests (cockroaches, mice, etc.)
  • Changes in temperature (e.g. cold air)
  • Strong smells (perfume, household cleaners, etc.)
  • Stress

Learn more about avoiding asthma triggers.

Medications and Management

There are two main types of asthma medications:

  • Controller or maintenance medication must be taken every day, even when you are feeling well. These medications work to reduce swelling in the airways.
  • Quick reliever or emergency medication is to be taken only when experiencing asthma symptoms. This medication acts quickly to release the tight muscles around the airways.

Asthma medication needs to be inhaled so the medication can reach the lungs.

How to properly take asthma medications: 


Asthma does not have a cure, but it can be controlled by taking medications properly and by avoiding asthma triggers. To be in control of your asthma is to live symptom free! 

Your asthma might not be as controlled as it could be if:

  • You use your rescue inhaler at least two times a week
  • You wake up coughing more than twice a month
  • You refill your rescue inhaler more than twice a year

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, an asthma action plan developed by you and your doctor can help you manage your asthma by knowing what medications to take and what triggers to avoid.

Print your own asthma action plan. 

Home Visiting Program


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Our home-visiting program actively seeks participants with severe or uncontrolled asthma. You qualify for our program if you: 

  • Have been to the emergency room or hospital for asthma in the last year
  • Have been on a course of oral steroids (like prednisone) in the last year
  • Have an Asthma Control Test (ACT) score of less than 19.  Don’t know what your Asthma Control Test Score is? Find your score by taking a test now:

    For more information about the asthma home visiting program or to enroll, call 385-468-5250 or email

    Download our home visiting program flyer