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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Your Daily Asthma Checklist

The following was originally published as a slideshow on on April 8, 2015.

Your Daily Asthma Checklist

Asthma can be managed, allowing you to live a normal life, as long as you take the proper steps and maintain compliance. Here is a checklist to guide you through your day to help maintain asthma control.

1.  Take Your Asthma Controller Medicine.  They reduce airway inflammation and keep your airways open so your breathing stays normal. They also make it easier to treat and control asthma attacks when they do occur. Most are long acting, meaning you only need to take them once or twice a day. A good tip is to take them just prior to brushing your teeth in the moring and at night.

2.  Keep Rescue Medicine Nearby. Rescue medicine opens airways to quickly end an asthma attack. Its fast-acting medicine helps you catch your breath. Nebulizers and inhalers work great for home. Inhalers are small and compact, and ideal for when you’re on-the-go. They conveniently fit into pockets and purses, making them easy to take with you.

3.  Avoid and Control Asthma TriggersAsthma triggers are things that may cause your asthma to flare up. Triggers, such as animal dander and cigarette smoke, can easily be avoided. Triggers in the air, such as pollen and high humidity, may be difficult to avoid. However, these may be controlled by using air purifiers and air conditioners.

4.  Use Your Peak Flow Meter. A Peak Flow Meter is a small, hand-held device that measures how much air you can push out of your lungs in one exhalation. Your peak flow numbers can indicate your asthma is getting worse even before you feel symptoms. Swift action may help you stave off an impending asthma attack.

5.  Be Vigilant Early On. Early warning signs appear before an asthma attack starts. Examples include sneezing, coughing, and feeling tired. These are usually unique for each person. When you observe them, take swift action to prevent an asthma attack.

6.  Keep An Asthma Diary.  Record your daily peak flow readings and any asthma signs and symptoms. Keep track of anything new you might have been exposed to, such as an animal. Physicians can use your diary to help recognize potential asthma triggers and patterns, and can adjust medicines accordingly.

7.  Refer to your Asthma Action Plan. An Asthma Action Plan is a plan you create with your doctor to help decide what actions to take when you observe your early warning signs, or your peak flow numbers are trending downward. It should be in a very convenient location, such as on your refrigerator. Others can use it to help you if you are unable to help yourself.

8.  Exercise Daily.  Most asthma experts recommend asthmatics get some form of exercise, even if you have severe asthma. This is important because it helps to keep your heart and lungs strong. It may help prevent asthma, and may also make asthma attacks less severe. Of course, there are other benefits to exercise, such as boosting your energy and improving your mood.

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