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Tips for Controlling Your Asthma
Get Proper Care
Assess Your Symptoms
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- You have symptoms on more than 2 days in a week
- You need to use your rapid-acting medicine to relieve your symptoms more than 2 days in a week
- You awaken at night with symptoms more than 2 times in a month
- Your symptoms interfere with your normal activity
- Your peak flow is below 80% of your personal best
Work With Your Doctor
- Agree on clear treatment goals with your doctor.
- Ask questions (eg, What should I do to control my asthma? When and why should I do these things?). Be sure to bring up any concerns.
- Tell your doctor if you think you’ll have trouble doing what is asked.
- Bring your medications and written action plan to each visit.
- Before leaving your doctor’s office, write down the things you are supposed to do.
- See your doctor at least every six months to check your asthma and review your treatment.
- Consider using an online program to manage your symptoms. These programs can help to improve asthma control and lung function. Organizations like the American Lung Association and the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America offer information on asthma management and support groups. Your doctor can also recommend an online program.
- Stay in contact with your doctor between visits, especially if your symptoms are changing. Whether you stay in contact over the phone, through email, or through your doctor's website, good communication can help you stay out of the hospital and have better control of your asthma.
Take the Right Medications at the Right TimeLong-term Control MedicinesShort-term or “Quick-Relief” Medicines
- Have asthma symptoms three or more times a week
- Have asthma symptoms at night more than twice in a month
- Have trouble doing all your normal activities
- Have a peak flow less than 80% of your personal best
Use Your Peak Flow Meter Correctly
- Every morning when you wake up, before you take medicine
- When you are having asthma symptoms or an attack, and after taking medicine for the attack (This can tell you how bad your asthma attack is and whether your medicine is working.)
- Any other time your doctor suggests
- Tobacco smoke
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
- Vacuum cleaning
- Indoor mold
- Pollen and outdoor mold
- Smoke, strong odors, and sprays
- Sulfites in foods
- Cold air
- Certain medications (Tell your doctor about all the medications you take.)
American Lung Association http://www.lungusa.org
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org/
Asthma Society of Canada http://www.asthma.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html
Asthma. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asthma/. Updated June 15, 2012. Accessed July 26, 2012..
Asthma exacerbation in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 2, 2011. Accessed August 1, 2012.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance: McLean S, Chandler D, Nurmatov U, Liu J, Pagliari C, Car J, Sheikh A. Telehealthcare for asthma. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(10):CD007717.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 07/2012
- Update Date: 07/26/2012