10 Things To Do This Month (to get your asthma under control)
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It is the beginning of a new year and the perfect time to begin on the road to controlled asthma. Even if you are fortunate to have controlled asthma, there are still things that you can to help keep it that way.
1. Make your New Year Asthma Visit – Schedule a well-check for your asthma with your health care provider. Whether you see your primary care provider or asthma/allergy specialist, this visit should focus on your asthma and related issues. If you are struggling with your asthma, this is a good time to make a plan to get it under control. If you are not having any problems with your asthma, this is a visit that can help you to keep it that way. Discuss any concerns about your asthma, medication, activity levels and challenges you might be experiencing.
2. Check the expiration dates and refills on all medications – There is no better time to take a look at all of your asthma medications to know their expiration dates and if you need to ask for refills at the New Year Asthma Visit appointment. If the costs of these medications is a problem, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist about available resources.
3. Ask for your annual spirometry (lung function test) – National guidelines suggest that all people with asthma should have their lung function tested each year, at a minimum. This painless breathing test helps to guide your personalized asthma care. Start the year knowing how well your lungs are working.
4. Make your physical activity plan – Exercise is important for ALL people – including those with asthma. The healthier our bodies are, the healthier our lungs can be. It is important to consult with your healthcare provider to create a plan that will balance your asthma control and healthy body needs.
5. Update your Asthma Action Plan – If you have asthma, you should have a written Asthma Action Plan. This individualized Asthma Action Plan will give you a road map to controlling your asthma. Since asthma does not affect everyone in the same way, it cannot be managed in EXACTLY the same way for everyone.
Note: National Asthma Guidelines are an evidence-based standard of care. This is not to imply that all asthma is treated in only one way, instead, asthma is managed in a standardized pattern of care)
6. Find an AE-C (certified asthma educator) in your area – AE-Cs are nationally certified asthma educators who have a specific knowledge for educating people about asthma. These individuals know how to help you access asthma resources and teach you how to manage your asthma.
7. Complete a Home Environment Checklist – The Home Environment Checklist was created by the US Environmental Protection Agency to help you identify things that may make your health worse. Once you find the things that make your asthma worse in your home, you will be able to make a plan to make things better.
8. Get your asthma inhaler and tool technique checked – If the medication can’t get into your lungs, it can’t work! Using asthma inhalers and tools in the correct way is not something that anyone just knows – you must be taught. Using an inhaler to get the right amount of medicine takes practice. Ask your healthcare provider, pharmacist and/or AE-C to watch you use your inhalers and tools.
9. Make your asthma inhaler and tool cleaning schedule – Asthma inhalers and tools require cleaning. To make sure that your medicine is ready to use and to help you remember, create a cleaning schedule. Take the time to look at the inserts that come with your inhalers and tools, and/or ask your AE-C, for guidance on how to prime, clean and use each of them.
10. Replace nebulizer compressor filter (if yours has one) – Some nebulizer compressors still have filters that need to be changed. Read the instructions that come with your compressor to see if it has any specific care and cleaning needs.