Quarterly Progress Check: Getting Friends & Family Involved with Asthma Control

  • It's time for your quarterly progress check on your asthma control. One of the things that can help a lot with the ongoing management of any chronic illness like asthma is to get family and friends involved in your care. Now obviously, many of the decisions that need to be made and the actions that need to be taken or solely your responsibility. After all, it's your body and your health... and you are in charge of both.


    But having support from your family and/or friends can make a big difference in how you approach those responsibilities. If nothing else, it's just nice to know someone is there if you need them.

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    3 Big Ways in Which Your Friends/Family Can Help


    1. They can help you make the right choices. When you have asthma, you are constantly making choices about whether to take your medicine, what to eat, what triggers to avoid, etc. If your family understands your treatment plan, then they can help you better. So keep them informed and tell them how they can help.


    For instance, asthma stays under better control when your weight is in a healthy range. But what if you're not the main cook in your household? If that's the case, then tell your spouse or parent or whoever does the cooking why it's important for you to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid fatty, fried and prepared foods, etc.


    If you have trouble remembering to take your medicine in the morning or at bedtime, enlist your family members or friends as a backup. A simple nudge or a phone call at the right time might keep you on the right track.


    If avoiding your triggers is hard for you, family and friends can help there too, if they understand your limits. For instance, if you are allergic to cats and your friend has a cat, ask them if they can help you avoid asthma symptoms when visiting by keeping the cat in a different part of the house.


    2. They can be there with an empathetic shoulder when you need to whine a little. The good new is, when asthma is treated effectively, it shouldn't get in your way too much for living an active, high quality life. But control may slip from time to time, and when it does, it's not that unusual to get a little frustrated or discouraged. Those are normal reactions, but it's important not to get bogged down in them for long. Knowing you can lean on and vent to someone who cares about you can help you move on more quickly and start focusing on how to regain your asthma control.


    3. They can help you notice when asthma control starts to slip. Every person with asthma should have an Asthma Action Plan. This action plan should give you concrete symptoms and peak flow levels that will clue you in to the fact that asthma control is OK or not and what to do. Share this action plan with your friends and family, so they are informed to.


    You're so used to living with asthma that you might not notice some of the early symptoms as soon as your loved ones might. So it can be helpful to have them aware of what to watch for so they can point it out to you. They can also help you get emergency treatment if needed.


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    Those are three ways the people who care for you can partner up with you to keep your asthma under control from now on. Don't be afraid to ask for this help; if they care about you, they'll be happy to be there for you!

Published On: June 28, 2010