Having asthma doesn’t mean you can’t live a full life. Being able to spot your triggers and knowing your signs and symptoms can help you prevent an attack and can help you better manage your asthma overall. Here are some things to focus on:
Plan for emergencies. It’s important to keep enough supply of all your asthma medicines with you. In case of an emergency, call your health care provider right away if you experience any breathing problems, shortness of breath, or increased coughing. You should call 911 if your rescue medicines are not working.
Keep your air clean. Avoid potential triggers like smoke from cigarettes and fireplaces, fumes, and strong smells. Use air filters and air conditioners to make the air in your home cleaner and more comfortable and dust-free.
Track your medicine. To get the most from your medicine, it’s important that you take it exactly as your doctor prescribed it and that you track how much medicine you use so you can plan for refills. You can use this method to figure when you’ll need to get a refill:
- When you start a new inhaler, divide the number of puffs in the canister (the canister will often have this number printed on it) by the number of puffs you take each day. The number you get will be the number of days the canister should last. For example, if you take four puffs each day from a 200-puff canister, you will need to have a new canister every 50 days.
- Using a calendar, count forward that many days to see when your medicine will run out. Choose a day to have your prescription refilled that is a few days before this date. Write the refill date on the canister and on your calendar or somewhere you’ll see it often, so you can remember.
Keep an asthma diary. With an asthma diary, you can write down any symptoms you have or any asthma attacks and record the triggers (if possible), the symptoms, and what kind of medicine you used for relief. You can also record your peak flow reading daily and carry your list of medicines with you.
Identify what triggers your asthma symptoms. Everyone has different triggers. You can best identify your triggers with your health care provider, but common triggers can include:
- A cold
- Cold weather
Get your vaccines. Talk to your health care provider to see if the flu vaccine is right for you. If you have asthma, it’s also recommended that you get the pneumonia vaccine, shingles vaccine, and Tdap vaccine. Check with your doctor to see if you need these vaccines.
Follow guidelines for reducing the spread of COVID-19. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. COVID-19 can affect your nose, throat, and lungs (respiratory tract); cause an asthma attack; and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.