Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs and affects about 26 million Americans. The disease causes inflammation and narrowing of the bronchial tubes with symptoms such as wheezing, cough, shortness of breath and chest tightness. Asthma can be allergic - caused by exposure to an allergen such as pet dander; and non-allergic - caused by triggers such as exercise, illness, stress, or irritants. Asthma is among the most common chronic childhood illnesses and if left undiagnosed or unmanaged, can be deadly. Studies show that people with asthma who see a specialist, such as an allergist, reduce their symptoms, emergency room and doctor visits, missed days from work or school and health care costs. The main strategy of controlling asthma is prevention. Prevention includes: understanding and avoiding triggers, having access to medical care, obtaining appropriate treatment to decrease chronic inflammation and improve or maintain lung function.