Asthma Tips for Adults

Get Smart about Asthma at home

Get Smart about Asthma at home

1. Eliminate common asthma triggers – Look through your house for leading triggers like dust mites, mold, pet dander, cockroaches and pollen and eliminate what you can. Also, if you have asthma, you should eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke since it can trigger asthma symptoms.1

2. Kill mold and mildew – Though it’s probably not your favorite task, eliminating mold and mildew from your bathroom can help prevent asthma flare-ups. Be sure to wash all bathmats and towels on a regular basis to avoid particle build-up. Also, keep your bathroom well ventilated so that mold and mildew is reduced.2,3

3. Outsmart the dust mites – Dust mites are tiny bugs that feed on flakes of human skin and are found in mattresses, pillows, carpet, upholstered furniture and stuffed animals.4 Wash your sheets in hot water (at least 130° F) and vacuum weekly to minimize dust mites. Look for products with a seal from the Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Program.5

4. Clear the air – Many people seal their windows and doors to manage their heating and cooling costs, and doing so can also help you manage your asthma by keeping outdoor allergens, like pollen, from entering your house. It's also a good idea to invest in a good central heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to minimize air pollution. Be sure to clean or change the filters every three to six months. Keeping HVAC air filters clean can help minimize many common indoor asthma triggers.5

Get Smart about Asthma at work

Get Smart about Asthma at work

1. Stick to your treatment plan – While work can sometimes be overwhelming, it is very important to keep up with the treatment plan you and your doctor have developed. If you are on a maintenance treatment to control inflammation, be sure to take it as prescribed whether it is once or twice daily. In addition to sticking to your treatment plan, always have a quick-relief inhaler available in case you have a sudden onset of symptoms.6

2. Keep a clean desk – Eliminate asthma triggers, like dust, by cleaning your desk and keyboard with a damp cloth on a regular basis.

3. Inform your supervisor – Having asthma is nothing to be embarrassed about and it is important that you tell your supervisor or a co-worker that you have asthma. Be sure that your emergency contact’s information is on file and your co-workers know who to contact in case you have an asthma attack in the office.7

4. Bring in a doctor's note – Doctor's notes aren't just for kids! If you have a supervisor who is skeptical about the severity of your asthma, provide them with a doctor’s note that states you have asthma and need to have your medications near you at all times.7

5. Develop an Asthma Action Plan – Work with your doctor to create a written Asthma Action Plan to incorporate asthma management into your daily life. The plan should contain information about medications, specific triggers and what to do in case of an emergency.6

Get Smart about Asthma while traveling

Get Smart about Asthma while traveling

1. Don't forget your medicine – Just because you’re on vacation doesn't mean your asthma is too. When traveling anywhere, whether within the U.S. or abroad, be sure to bring your medications. Also bring a list of all the medications you are taking, keep the original labels containing refill numbers, prescribing doctor and dosage with you, just in case.8

2. Know your insurance policy – Make sure you understand the details of your medical insurance policy before leaving for your destination. Check to see if your policy provides physician and hospital coverage if you’re out of state or out of the country.8

3. Talk with your doctor – Try to get in touch with your doctor before you start traveling to find out if they have any recommendations for asthma specialists in the area where you will be traveling. Be sure to review your Asthma Action Plan with your doctor before you travel.8

4. Check the weather – For some people, cold air can actually trigger an asthma flare-up, so if you are visiting the mountains or other cold destinations, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for taking your medication and keep a quick-relief inhaler with you at all times.8

5. Travel when air quality is best – If possible, try to arrange your travel schedule so that you are driving in the early morning or late evening when air quality is better. If traveling in your car, try to keep the windows closed and use the air conditioning to avoid letting pollen and other irritants into the car.8

Get Smart about Seasonal Asthma

Get Smart about Seasonal Asthma

1. Bundle up – During the fall, temperatures begin to drop which can trigger your asthma.9 If you are on a maintenance medication, be sure to take your medicine as prescribed every day to prevent inflammation and asthma symptoms.6

2. Get the flu shot – People with asthma may be at higher risk for flu complications. Prevent the flu by getting the flu shot, washing hands regularly and limiting contact with others who are ill.10

3. Do outdoor chores early in the morning – Weed pollens are highest during midday, so try to finish outdoor activities like mowing the lawn before the pollen count gets high. If raking up leaves is one of your weekend chores, wear a surgical mask to protect your mouth from breathing in mold and leaf debris that can trigger asthma. For all outdoor activities, wear gloves, long-sleeve shirts and pants to help prevent mold from getting on your skin.11,12

4. Wash away pollen – Since pollen counts are high in the fall, be sure to do your laundry frequently to eliminate the pollen that sticks to your clothes.12

5. Keep track of your triggers – Monitor your symptoms and your medication intake on a regular basis. If you find that you are using your quick-relief inhaler more than you have in other seasons, discuss this with your doctor in case you need to adjust your treatment plan.

IMPORTANT: If you are currently using a maintenance medication to control your asthma symptoms, remember to take your medication daily. Maintenance medications are intended to help treat inflammation and prevent asthma attacks, so it’s important that you adhere to your prescribed treatment regimen in order for the medication to be effective.

References
  1. Environmental Protection Agency. Asthma Triggers: Gain Control. April 11, 2012. Available at http://www.epa.gov/asthma/triggers.html. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  2. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Indoor Allergens: Tips to Remember. Online. 2012. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/indoor-allergens.aspx. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  3. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Cleaning Tips for Allergy and Asthma Sufferers. Online. 2012. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/cleaning-tips-for-allergy-and-asthma-sufferers.aspx. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  4. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Dust Mites. Available at: http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=18&cont=228. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  5. Asthma& Allergy Friendly Certification Program. Guide for Reducing Allergens and Irritants in the Home. Available at: http://www.asthmaandallergyfriendly.com/images/stories/pdf/brochures/reduced_allergen_guide.pdf. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  6. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. So You Have Asthma. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/asthma/have_asthma.pdf. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  7. Everyday Health. Asthma Control at the Office. Available at: http://www.everydayhealth.com/asthma/asthma-control-at-the-office.aspx. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  8. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Travelling with Asthma. Available at: http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&sub=16&cont=69. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  9. Weather.com. 7 Important Asthma Triggers: Other Triggers. Available at: http://www.weather.com/outlook/weather-news/news/articles/seven-asthma-triggers_2011-09-11?page=7. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults With Asthma Should Receive Flu Vaccination. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/flushot.htm. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  11. National Jewish Health. Pediatric Asthma: Getting Ready for Fall. Available at: http://www.nationaljewish.org/healthinfo/pediatric/asthma/lifestyle-management/fall/. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  12. American Lung Association. Avoiding Autumn Asthma Triggers. Available at: http://www.lung.org/about-us/our-impact/top-stories/avoiding-autumn-asthma.html. Accessed September 11, 2012.