How to manage your asthma: the action plan you may need

Feeling like your breathing is too tight? Are wheezing and coughing keeping you up at night? Those may be signs your asthma is not under control. As the season changes and damp air settles in with the fall, it may be time to visit your doctor and make an asthma-control plan.

There is no one-size-fits-all action plan for managing asthma. Understanding what triggers your flare-ups can make the condition easier to manage, according to registered nurses at ConnectiCare.

Some signs that you may not be managing your asthma effectively include:

  1. Using a rescue inhaler more than twice a week
  2. Visiting urgent care or the emergency room frequently because of asthma
  3. Having frequent flare-ups but not knowing what’s triggering them
  4. Losing sleep from wheezing and coughing

Your primary care doctor can help you:

Understand your triggers.

Allergies to food, dust mites, mold, smoke and pet dander can trigger flare-ups. Your doctor may recommend getting tested for allergies.

“Once you know what triggers your asthma, you can be proactive and talk to your doctor about the right medication for you. For example, if you have a flare up every fall or spring then your doctor may want to put you on medication prior to start of the season to help you avoid flare-ups. ” said Michelle, a registered nurse at ConnectiCare.

Create an action plan.

Your action plan may include:

  • Your daily maintenance medications
  • Ways to avoid things that trigger your asthma. For example, if you are allergic to dust mites, you may need to use dust mite-proof pillow covers.
  • Knowing what to do when you have a flare-up, such as, having an emergency inhaler on you at all times.

Get vaccinated.

If you have a history of asthma, you should get the flu and pneumonia shots, Michelle said. Catching the flu can put you at risk for a bad asthma flare – even one that may be life-threatening.

Need extra support?

ConnectiCare has registered nurses available to help our members. Your primary care doctor can refer you, or you can call yourself: 1-800-829-0696. Nurses are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday-Friday.

 

Sources: Information provided by ConnectiCare registered nurse care managers in September 2018 and reviewed by a ConnectiCare medical director for clinical accuracy. For more information on asthma, visit: