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Tips for Controlling Your Asthma
Get Proper Care
Assess Your Symptoms
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- You have symptoms more than 2 days a week
- You need to use your rapid-acting medication to relieve your symptoms more than 2 days in a week
- Your medications don't work as well as they used to work
- Your symptoms interfer with sleep
- Your symptoms interfere with your normal activity
- Your peak flow is below 80% of your personal best
- You have to seek medical help right away due to an asthma attack
Work With Your Doctor
- Agree on clear treatment goals.
- Ask questions and 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 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 medication
- When you are having asthma symptoms or an attack, and after taking medication for the attack This can tell you how bad your asthma attack is and whether your medication is working.
- Any other time your doctor suggests
- Upper respiratory infections or Flu
- Tobacco smoke
- Dust mites
- Animal dander
- Cold air
- Indoor mold
- Pollen and outdoor mold
- Vacuum cleaning
- Smoke, strong odors, and sprays
- Certain medications (Tell your doctor about all the medications you take.)
- Sulfites in foods
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
Asthma exacerbation in adults and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 2, 2011. Accessed August 1, 2012.
How to use your peak flow meter. Asthma Initiative of Michigan website. Available at: http://www.getasthmahelp.org/peak-flow-how-to.aspx. Accessed July 9, 2014.
Is your asthma under control? Asthma Initiative of Michigan website. Available at: http://www.getasthmahelp.org/under-control.aspx. Accessed July 9, 2014.
What is asthma? National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asthma/. Updated June 15, 2012. Accessed July 9, 2014.
1/4/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: 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: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 07/2014
- Update Date: 07/09/2014