In accordance with the motto of this year’s World Asthma Day, “Uncovering Asthma Misconceptions”, this is the fourth post of our mini-series about asthma based on our patient booklet “Fast Facts for Patients and their Supporters: Asthma”. Here, we focus on how you can prevent and/or manage an asthma attack.

How Do I Prevent an Asthma Attack?

  • Take your preventer medication as prescribed. It is not unusual to miss a dose or two, but if you miss several days in a row your risk of having an asthma attack will increase. Make sure you are using your inhaler correctly. Make sure you always have a good supply of preventer medication.
  • Have a personalized written Asthma Action Plan to help you maintain good asthma control and guide you through the actions to take if your symptoms get worse. Make sure your Action Plan is clear about when to step up treatment. Make sure you have a good stock of all the treatments on your Action Plan.
  • Avoid triggers. Identify the triggers that worsen your symptoms and find ways to avoid them. Avoid people with coughs and colds to minimize your chances of picking up a virus.
  • Record your symptoms and peak flow readings between asthma reviews. Do not dismiss changes. If you are waking at night and/or finding things more difficult than usual, see your doctor.
  • Maintain good health and fitness. Eat healthily and stay active.
  • Get a yearly flu vaccine (and the pneumococcal vaccine if you are older). Discuss this with your doctor if you have an egg allergy. Flu vaccines do not cause attacks or worsen symptoms.
  • Stop smoking. This is the single best action you can take. If your child has asthma and you smoke, you are exposing them to harm. Even the smell of cigarette smoke on clothes can be an irritant for children with asthma.

How Do I Manage an Asthma Attack?

Despite appropriate treatment and good self-management, asthma attacks still happen. It is important that you know the signs and symptoms of an attack, you can recognize how severe it is, and you know what to do when one happens. These steps should be clearly shown on your Asthma Action Plan, and you should also talk to your doctor about this so that you know what medications to take.

Severity of asthma attack signs

 

Please check out the previous and the next post of our series here:

 

Information based on Fast Facts for Patients and their Supporters: Asthma (Karger, 2020).

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