Allergy season can be tough for a lot of us but it can be downright dangerous for those with asthma. It's important to have ways of managing asthma in place so you can breath easier and enjoy every season more fully.
If you are not properly managing your asthma it can affect every aspect of your life. Proper care can help you enjoy activities more, feel better and breathe easier.
Keep reading for tricks and tools to help make your life easier as you implement a plan for managing asthma for you or a loved one.
Managing Asthma Means Being Proactive
The best way of managing asthma is to be proactive and to consciously make positive choices for a healthier you.
Make the Most of Medical Resources
When you go to the doctor you want to make the most of the time you have so be prepared before your appointment.
Write Down Questions and Concerns
It's easy to get flustered when you get in front of the doctor and they have their own agenda so it's helpful to write down any questions or concerns you want to discuss.
List of Medications and Dosages
You should always have a list of your current medications and dosage prescribed by any physician with any and all over the counter or herbal medicines included.
If you have asthma nebulizers you should bring them with you to your appointments so you can ensure they are up to date and in proper working order.
If your asthma has been unpredictable or difficult to manage it can help enlighten you and your healthcare team if you start a Breathing Journal. This will allow you to document any asthma issues you may have, triggers you noticed, and resolution.
Asthma Patient's Education Initiatives
Many hospitals, community walk-in clinics and respiratory or lung health organizations offer asthma patient education initiatives. This is another opportunity for you to have general questions answered.
This is a good place to learn all there is to know about asthma medications, healthy choices, information about nebulizers and the benefits of using an AeroChamber.
Identify and Avoid Triggers
This is another place where a breathing journal becomes useful. When you write down the details of each asthma-related incident you can identify what factors triggered an asthma attack or contributed to breathing difficulties.
While you may not always be able to completely avoid those things that trigger your symptoms it is easier to intervene or remove yourself from a situation. For some it may be perfumes, for others, it could be animals that start the problem.
There are many things that can trigger or exacerbate breathing difficulties like asthma. While every individual is different there are some common culprits that seem to frequently cause issues:
- molds and dust
- animal dander
- perfumes and aftershave,
- body sprays and deodorants
Asthma doesn't always need to have an irritant in the air to flare up.
Was It Something You Ate?
Some food and beverages can either trigger or contribute to asthma issues:
- fish and shellfish
Certain medications can also lead to an asthma attack or respiratory distress.
The Pharmacist is Your Yoda
Consult your pharmacist because they are a wealth of information. While doctors prescribe medications and do their best it is the pharmacist who's the pharmaceutical expert.
Use their wisdom to your advantage and let them teach you everything they will about asthma and the medications you are on. They'll be able to tell you if anything you are taking interacts with other medications, food, alcohol or sunlight.
Keep Physically Active
You may not be able to run marathons especially if you have exercise-induced asthma. That doesn't mean you can't be physically active and do your best to keep fit.
Going for a walk every evening in the park, taking a bicycle ride, swimming and yoga are all excellent choices for improving and controlling your breathing.
Always make sure you have your nebulizers and adhere to smog or pollen warnings when exercising. You don't want to find yourself in the middle of an asthma attack and no help in sight.
There's an App for That
There are several apps created to help with asthma management. Some are basic and will notify you when irritants like pollen will be high while others are so detailed they send an alert to your doctor when you're experiencing serious symptoms.
Asthma Buddy was created by respiratory specialists in Australia and will alert the user when it's time to take medication, monitor symptoms and make it easier to implement your asthma care plan.
It also enables you to send a pdf of your asthma action plan or any health information wanted to your health care professional. Gives you your doctor's contact information at the click of a button and access to how-to videos and educational libraries.
AsthmaMD offers many of the same features but also has the bonus of a peak flow meter to better track your breathing and lung capacity.
You can chart your symptoms, log your progress and update your action plan right from the app while keeping track of your peak flow meter log as well. The information can be sent directly to your doctor or you have it ready when they ask for it.
Take a Deep Breath and Let it Go
Stress and intense emotions can often be a trigger for asthma and breathing issues as well. If your immune system isn't at its best a cold or virus can turn into a serious issue.
It's good for your health if you let your stress go. Life is stressful and you can't avoid it but you can have some ways to deal with it better.
- make healthy food choices
- stay well hydrated
- spend time in nature
- get enough sleep
Reducing stress in your life is not only helpful for asthma symptoms but can reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and more.
Managing Asthma is Possible
Managing asthma is possible when you have a plan and take advantage of the resources around you. You will spend less time catching your breath and more time enjoying life when you take the time and effort to manage your asthma properly.