5 Things To Do For Better Asthma Control

Asthma control is no easy task, but as we begin the new year these 5 things can help you get better control of asthma in the coming year. Many patients include some, but not all, of these tasks as part of their asthma plan.


Develop An Asthma Action Plan

Asthma Action Plan. From NIH Publication No. 07-5251

An asthma action plan is essential to getting control of your asthma. If you do not have one you need to make an appointment with your doctor to develop one.

The plan will begin with a monitoring plan that will allow you to see what “zone” your asthma is in. Most action plans take the format of the stop light– green and your asthma is good– keep on the current plan. Yellow means caution and you need to take steps to prevent your asthma from getting worse. Red means you are near an asthma attack and need to be taking specific steps and consider seeking care.

A good asthma action plan will also help you identify your triggers and steps you can take to avoid them.


Get A Flu Shot

Flu Shot_GIN_justinsullivan.jpg
Flu Shot. Getty Images News- Justin Sullivan

If you have not gotten your flu shot, it's not too late. While many people avoid flu shots, but you do not contract the flu from the flu shot. Talk with your doctor about taking acetaminophen when you get immunized and this will prevent most side effects from immunization.

The flu shot can prevent you from feeling bad, having an asthma attack, or ending up in the ER or hospital. Additionally, asthmatics contracting influenza are more likely to have flu side effects such as pneumonia.


Understand Your Asthma

Health Information Prescription
Asthma Health Information Prescription.

Asthma is a complicated disease with complicated treatments. Consider asking your doctor for a referral to an asthma educator. A certified asthma educator will help you successfully implement your asthma action plan and optimize your asthma control.

If you do not have access to an asthma educator, consider asking for an asthma health information prescription. This is a recommendation from your doctor about where to seek out information to increase your asthma knowledge.


Understand Your Medications

Female With Asthma Inhaler. Photo © Getty Images- Stockbyte

Many asthmatics will have multiple medications as part of their treatment regimen. Rescue inhalers provide acute relief of asthma symptoms such as:

If you are using your rescue inhaler too much this indicates poor control and you and your doctor need to consider adjusting your action plan.

Your controller medication, on the other hand, needs to be taken every day no matter how you feel.

There is some amount of coordination that is required to use many different kinds of inhalers. Make sure your doctor or pharmacist looks at your inhaler technique and lets you know how you are doing.


See A Specialist If Needed

Doctor & Patient. Photo © Stockbyte

Most patient’s asthma can be managed by their primary care physicians. You may need to see a specialist such as a pulmonologist or an allergist if:

  • You experienced a life-threatening asthma attack, required intubation or a breathing tube, or needed admission to an intensive care unit for asthma.
  • You required hospitalization.
  • Your asthma remains poorly controlled asthma despite following your doctor's instructions and taking all your medications appropriately.
  • You want an evaluation for allergy shots to help to control asthma triggers.
  • You need oral steroids to treat worsening asthma symptoms.
  • Your current asthma severity is moderate persistent or worse.


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Accessed: December 26, 2015. Expert Panel Report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma.

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