This animation will show what happens in the
lungs during an asthma attack and how a reliever inhaler works to treat
it. Click the navigation arrows below the animation
screen to play, pause, rewind or fast-forward the animation. This animation
contains sound. Air (oxygen) is taken in through the mouth
and nose. It then passes through the trachea to the
bronchi. Asthma is a condition where the airways become
irritated and inflamed. The bronchi are large tubes which are found
in the lungs. Air flows through these tubes. The bronchi branch and narrow into tubes called
bronchioles. The bronchioles continue to branch and end
with tiny air sacs called alveoli. In healthy lungs, oxygen is taken into the
body through the bronchi and passes into the blood via the alveoli. If you have an asthma attack you may start
wheezing, your chest may feel tight and you may be breathless. The muscles in the walls of the airways tighten
and the inner surface swells, causing the airways to narrow. An asthma attack can be triggered by exercise
or an allergy for example, both of which can irritate the airways. When the airways narrow it’s harder to breathe. Reliever inhalers are used to widen the airways
so you can breathe more easily if you have an asthma attack. The inhaler contains a gas which propels the
medicine into the airways so that the muscle walls relax and the airways
open up. When the airways widen it’s easier to breathe. This is the end of the animation. Click on the animation screen to watch it
again.