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Health Journey Support | Living With Asthma or Severe Asthma

Having asthma changes how people live. Not being able to breathe means you cannot do some of the things you used to take for granted every day. This brochure provides some things you can do to help make your chores easier to do and enjoy some of the things you like to do again.

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FOR PATIENTS/CAREGIVERS

Living With Asthma Severe Asthma Br

Living With Asthma or Severe Asthma

Having asthma changes how people live. Maybe you can't keep your windows open anymore, even on a beautiful day. Maybe you will begin to wheeze or cough while trying to talk to someone. Maybe you will need to say no when your child begs for a dog or a cat. Not being able to breathe means you cannot do some of the things you used to take for granted every day: walking to the store, doing chores, working, and sleeping. This can certainly make you feel sad, frustrated, or even angry.

With a little planning, you can make your chores easier to do and enjoy some of the things you like to do again.

Top of the list

The most important thing, as you probably already guessed, is to quit smoking if you currently smoke. It's also a good idea to stay away from other people who smoke. These things can irritate your lungs and cause an asthma attack.

If you have asthma, you should try to stay at a normal weight for your body type. Being overweight can make asthma symptoms worse. It also puts you at a greater risk of getting other health problems.

The flu can also cause serious problems if you have asthma. Flu shots and pneumonia vaccines may help lower your risk of infections that can cause asthma attacks.

Pulmonary rehabilitation

The goal of pulmonary rehabilitation is to help improve the well-being of patients with COPD. A healthcare team offers programs to help patients stay active and carry out their daily activities. But some of the things that make up pulmonary rehabilitation may also be good for asthma. They include exercise programs and education about asthma and your lungs. So far, there is still no proof to show that pulmonary rehabilitation works in the long term for people with asthma. A clinical study called the Effectiveness of Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Asthma (EPRA) was started in 2017 to see whether pulmonary rehabilitation really does improve asthma and, if so, for how long.

Common sense tips

Partner with your healthcare provider to:

  • Follow the asthma action plan that you created together
  • Make sure you monitor and record your breathing on your peak flow meter
  • Learn how to identify and treat attacks early to avoid a more severe attack
  • Always take your medicines as prescribed
  • Keep track of the number of times you use your quick-relief medicine

Try to keep away from things in your environment, both inside and outside, that may make your asthma worse. Some steps to avoid triggers include:

  • Using air conditioning whenever you can to reduce the amount of pollen finding its way indoors, and staying indoors on high-pollen days
  • Using a dehumidifier if you live in a damp climate
  • Preventing mold by cleaning damp areas in your bathroom and kitchen; getting rid of damp firewood and moldy leaves in the yard
  • Keeping your house clean and dust-free; removing carpeting and installing hardwood or linoleum flooring instead, if possible
  • Wearing a scarf over your nose and mouth when it's cold outside
  • Lowering the amount of pet fur in your house, especially if you are allergic

Talk to other people about your asthma. Support groups made up of people with the same condition as you can give you insights and help you see that you are not alone.

Other tips to keep in mind:

  • Create an exercise plan to get in a workout a few times a week. This can strengthen your heart and lungs and help relieve symptoms
  • Work with your healthcare provider to control heartburn and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). They can hurt your lung airways and make your asthma symptoms worse

And, above all, remember to call your healthcare provider if your symptoms worsen!