The following was originally published at healthcentral.com/asthma on 3/19/14.
10 tips: How to become a gallant asthmatic
Most asthma experts now say that if you are a gallant asthmatic, perfect in every way, you can live a normal life with this disease. Our role model in this regard isJake Gallant, who, by the way, is perfect in every way. We should all seek to be like Jake.
On the other hand, we have Joe Goofus. He is a goofus asthmatic, meaning that he does everything wrong. Because of this, he has poorly controlled asthma and has trouble living a normal life with it.
While we all strive to be like Jake Gallant, we all have a little Joe Goofus. So, considering Jake is the perfect asthmatic, we should seek his advice.
The following are 10 tips he has been so kind to share with us.
1. Do: See your doctor regularly. Most asthma experts recommend you see your asthma doctor at least once a year, and more frequently when your asthma is not controlled.
2. Don’t: Call your doctor only when you feel sick. Waiting until you are sick to find a doctor means you will probably have to see a doctor who doesn’t know you. You will either be forced to visit a doctor at a clinic or at a hospital, and you may not get the top-notch treatment you deserve. Are you listening, Joe?
3. Do: Use your medicine exactly as prescribed. Asthmatics who take their asthma controller medicine the right way are more likely to have controlled asthma. Compare that with my buddy Joe, who insists on only taking his medicine when his breathing is normal.
4. Don’t: Take your asthma controller medicine only when you’re sick, like Joe. The purpose of asthma controller medicine is to keep your lungs healthy. It usually takes 2-3 weeks for the medicine to get your lungs in good shape. So waiting until you are sick to use them is a goofus idea.
5. Do: Learn your asthma triggers and how to control them. A wise asthmatic will be vigilant to what triggers her asthma, and learn what is needed to control them. Some asthma triggers--such as strong smells, cigarette smoke, cockroach urine, animal dander, molds, and chimney smoke--can be avoided. Other triggers, such as dust mites and pollen, may take a little effort to control, but it can be done.
6. Don’t: Think you are invincible like superman. If you do this, then you probably won’t avoid the things that may trigger your asthma. Considering you’re already not taking your medicine (Joe!), if you expose yourself to your triggers, you may end up in the emergency room, which--ahem--happens to Joe quite a bit.
7. Do: Work with your asthma doctor to create an asthma action plan, then follow it to a tee. This way, when you observe your early warning signs of asthma (Hint! Hint! Check link out) you’ll know exactly what to do.
8. Don’t: Have an attitude that “I don’t need to do what they tell me!" If you don’t seek a doctor, and you don’t have a plan, and you don't know your triggers and symptoms of asthma, then you probably won’t know what to do when your asthma symptoms show up. Poor planning increases your risk of making ill-informed decisions. Speaking of making poor decesions, Jake just texted me that he's short of breath and his inhaler is empty.
9. Do: Seek help when you need it. A well-educated asthmatic will follow his asthma action plan to a tee, and if it recommends calling for help, that’s exactly what he will do. It’s better to seek help too soon, or on a hunch, than waiting too long. I've told this to Joe many times, but he obviously hasn't taken the hint.
10. Don’t: Think you can tough it out at home. So, you knew hours ago that you were sick, and you figured you could fight it off on your own. Bad idea! If you wait too long to seek help, it will be harder for your doctor to fix you.
Now, don't worry about Jake offending Joe by his comments here, because Joe doesn't read anything about his disease anyway; it's too much work. Besides, he's too busy right now looking for his spare inhaler. Where could it be?
Just think, Jake Gallant is the king of good asthma control. If you're going to take tips from anyone, it might as well be from the perfect asthmatic. Follow his tips everyday and set yourself on a path to improved asthma control.