My asthma, my life
Know your asthma triggers1
Avoiding your triggers is the number one way to reduce the frequency you use your medications and to prevent asthma attacks. Any time you have an asthma attack, think about where you were and what you were doing. Record answers to the questions below in a diary or calendar and take it with you to your next doctor appointment.
- Was I making a bed or vacuuming?
- Was I near an animal or cigarette smoke?
- Did I have a cold or other infection?
- Was I running, playing or exercising?
- Was I upset, excited or tired?
Prevent exposure to allergens if you have allergic asthma1
- Limit outdoor activities when pollen counts are high, especially in spring. This may reduce the amount of pollen allergen you inhale and help reduce your allergic asthma symptoms.
- Keep windows closed during pollen season and turn on the air conditioning
- Start taking allergy medicine (antihistamines) before spring starts (if recommended by your doctor).
- Bathe and shampoo your hair daily before going to bed. This will remove allergens from your hair and skin and keep it off your bedding.
- Wash bedding in hot, soapy water weekly.
- Limit close contact with pets that spend a lot of time outdoors.
- Change and wash clothes worn during outdoor activities
- Dry your clothes in a clothes dryer, not on an outdoor line (this will prevent you coming into contact with outdoor allergens).
Have an Asthma Action Plan1
For people with asthma, having an Asthma Action Plan is important to prevent symptoms and knowing what to do in the event of a life-threatening attack. An Asthma Action Plan is something developed by you and your doctor to help you control your asthma.
An effective plan should allow you to:
- be active without having asthma symptoms
- participate in exercise and sports
- sleep at night, without asthma symptoms
- attend school or work regularly
- have healthy lungs
- have no emergency visits or stays in the hospital.
If you don’t have an Asthma Action Plan talk to your doctor about getting one. Visit the National Asthma Council Australia website to download a template to take with you to your next doctor appointment.
Improve your wellbeing2
Asthma affects everyone differently, and everyone has different goals in life. Whatever those goals may be, looking after your overall wellbeing is an important part of managing your asthma.
Keeping a routine and doing what you love, helps to boost your wellbeing and manage your asthma symptoms:
- regular exercise can help support healthy lungs, mind and body weight
- spend time with your family and friends
- deal with any unhelpful thoughts you have straight away (that may mean talking to a doctor or a person close to you).
Discuss asthma control with your doctor
It’s important for you and your doctor, or asthma treatment team to work together to manage your asthma. To do this, you will need to make sure your doctor knows what symptoms you are experiencing, and how often you experience them.
If you’re not sure how to start a conversation with your doctor, complete the My Asthma Assessment Tool. You can print or email the results to yourself, and take it with you to your next appointment. It may also be useful to show your results to those close to you so that they can better understand your asthma and symptom triggers.
Reference: 1. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Asthma prevention. Available at: http://www.aafa.org/page/asthma-prevention.aspx Accessed December 2016. 2. Asthma UK. Live well with asthma. Available at: https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/resources/#adults Accessed March 2017.