Canada has one of the highest incidences of asthma in the world, with approximately three million Canadians diagnosed with this disease.
Doctors define asthma as a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway that causes shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing and wheezing.
This means that the airways of a person with asthma can narrow temporarily, making it more difficult for the air to get through. While some of the causes of asthma are understood, a cure has not yet been found.
In Canada, asthma is most common in youth between the ages of 11 and 19, and is the leading cause of students missing school. Approximately 60% of people with asthma do not have it under control, and 500 people die each year from asthma. Most of these deaths are preventable.
For more in-depth information about asthma, visit the Asthma Society of Canada
Being born with severe asthma I have had to deal with air pollution and the effects on my health my whole life.
- Jake Cohn Skiing - Extreme Skiing
Allergies are a response by the body to a substance that is not necessarily harmful in itself, but triggers an immune response and a reaction that causes symptoms and disease in a predisposed person.
An allergy can present in a variety of forms, such as a runny nose, itchy eyes and palate or skin rash. It can involve the upper and lower respiratory tracts, the skin, digestive system and other organs.
Symptoms can range from mild and inconvenient to severe and life threatening. Rates of allergy in Canadians have been increasing over the last decades, with nearly one in three Canadians now suffering from some form of allergy.
For more in-depth information about allergies, visit
Asthma and allergy are closely connected. Up to 80% of asthma sufferers also suffer from allergies.