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Managing Asthma Every Day

Don’t just cope with your asthma symptoms. Partner with your healthcare provider to help manage them. How can you do this? Know what your triggers are, so you can minimize your exposure to them, and take your medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider.

Taking these steps, along with the practical tips outlined below, may help you get your asthma symptoms under control so that you can work toward your asthma management goals. 

Select a topic below for tips on managing your asthma at home, at work, and on the road.

Asthma at home

Your home can harbor many of the allergens and triggers that can make your asthma symptoms worse. Following the tips below may help you manage your asthma symptoms:

Check out the Asthma Triggers section of this Web site to learn how to remove or minimize substances that you are allergic to or that trigger your asthma.

If your healthcare provider has prescribed medication to take each day, it’s important to take it as prescribed, even if you’re not experiencing symptoms. Some helpful ways to remember include:

  • Establishing a routine that works for you
  • Setting an alarm or reminder on your cell phone or computer calendar
  • Signing up for a free, online medication reminder service

It is also important to refill your prescription on time so you don’t run out and risk skipping a dose. Each time you refill your prescription, make a note on your calendar to refill it one week before the medicine is due to run out.  Some medicines even have dose counters that can help you monitor how much medicine is left in your device. Staying on schedule with your medications is an important part of your asthma management plan.

An Asthma Action Plan is an important tool in managing your asthma, whether your asthma is mild, moderate, or severe. Your healthcare provider can help customize your Asthma Action Plan based on your symptoms, history, and current treatment. Create your personalized plan and then share it with the people you regularly come in contact with.

Asthma at work

If your asthma symptoms seem better when you are away from work—perhaps during weekends or holidays—and worsen when you go back, you should speak with your healthcare provider.

Depending on your work environment—office, factory, industrial site—there may be steps you can take to help reduce your asthma symptoms while you’re at work.

Some asthma triggers you might encounter at work include:

  • Dust
  • Mold
  • Chemicals
  • Animal dander
  • Smoke or fumes
Your healthcare provider can help you determine what substances may be causing your symptoms, so be sure to explain all the possible triggers that you encounter. Once you’ve identified one or more possible triggers, ask your employer about moving you to a different location, reassigning you to a different job, or providing a respiratory device to minimize your exposure.

If you suspect poor air quality or ventilation is contributing to your asthma symptoms at work, talk to your employer.

Work can be a source of stress for many people, and stress is a common asthma trigger. Try to reduce on-the-job stress by managing your time effectively so you are not overworked, or try practicing relaxation techniques.

Explore more ways to reduce or relieve stress.

Asthma and travel

No matter how dedicated you are to managing your asthma, a vacation or business trip can throw off your routine, which may in turn lead to worsening asthma symptoms. Preparation is essential to managing asthma when you’re away from home. Following these suggestions may help you get the most out of your trip:

Find out indoor and outdoor asthma triggers you might face while away. Keep up with the daily air quality at your travel destination.

Bring a list of all of your medications, extra prescriptions for additional medication, a copy of your Asthma Action Plan, and your insurance cards.

Healthcare providers recommend always having a quick-relief inhaler on hand to address sudden asthma symptoms. Keep it in your backpack, purse, briefcase, or gym bag so that you always have it with you. This is particularly important if you are far from home. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice.

Make sure you bring enough medicine(s) to last through your whole trip. Consider bringing extra medicine, or carrying prescriptions for additional medication. If you’re traveling within the US, many pharmacists will fill a prescription even though your healthcare provider is from another state. Some national pharmacy chains will have your prescription on file in their computer network.

Keep your medication handy in a bag you carry all the time, just in case your luggage gets lost. Remember to keep your medicines out of the reach of children.

If you bring along a nebulizer that requires power, make sure you have an adapter for your car or for outlets in different countries. If the nebulizer is battery powered, make sure the battery is charged.