What to do?
There are steps you can take to help manage your asthma symptoms and reduce your risk of a serious flare-up. Even if you are still experiencing asthma symptoms it is important that you take steps to look after yourself as much as possible:
Take your medications as directed
It is important to take your medicines as instructed by your doctor. You need to take your preventer medication every day.
Use your inhaler correctly
It is important you know how to use your inhalers correctly, to ensure the medicine reaches your lungs so it can work properly. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to check if you are using your inhalers correctly at every visit.
Have an up-to-date written asthma action plan
It is important you have an up-to-date, written asthma action plan so you know what to do when you experience symptoms, flare-ups or if there is a change in your asthma symptoms. This should be reviewed every year, if your medications or doses are changed.
Talk to your doctor
It is important to have a regular asthma review with your doctor. You should see your doctor if there is a change in your symptoms, or you experience a flare-up. You should discuss any side effects or concerns you have about your health, so your doctor can help.
Speak to your GP about a referral
Speak to your doctor about a referral to a respiratory specialist if you are taking your inhaled combination preventer as directed and have:
- poor symptom control or frequent symptoms (e.g. more than 2 days a week)
- frequent asthma flare-ups (2 or more courses of oral steroids in the last year)
- admission to hospital for asthma in the last 12 months.
Carry a reliever puffer at all times
An asthma flare-up can come on slowly (over hours, days or even weeks) or very quickly (over minutes), so it’s important to carry your reliever puffer (blue/grey or Symbicort) with you at all times.
Go to the hospital in case of an emergency
Follow your asthma action plan. Go to your nearest hospital emergency department, or call an ambulance If you experience signs or symptoms of a severe or life-threatening asthma flare-up. For further information see asthma emergency.
Committing to a healthy lifestyle will improve a number of parts of your life. Quit smoking, eat a balanced diet with plenty of vegetables and fruit, exercise (according to your doctor’s instructions), prevent excess weight gain, deal effectively with stress and plan ahead. Increasing research suggests a healthy lifestyle may also improve your asthma.