Asthma Managing Asthma

How to manage your asthma at home

Take steps to help keep your asthma under control:

  • Look for training or support groups. Ask your healthcare provider about asthma community groups.
  • Know your asthma. Educate yourself so you can understand the purpose of your medicines and how to prevent symptoms. Learn how to recognize asthma attacks early and when to seek medical attention.
  • Monitor your air flow. As part of your asthma action plan, your provider may show you how to track your asthma using a peak flow meter. Keep a record of your results. You can compare your numbers over time to check that your asthma is controlled. A low number can help warn you of an asthma attack even before you notice symptoms.
  • Write down any problems with your asthma and bring the record with you to your next care visit. The fact sheet below includes a tool to help track your symptoms and tips on measuring your air flow.

monitoring your asthma

Monitoring Your Asthma

Learn more about managing your asthma to help keep it under control. This fact sheet includes a tool to help you track your symptoms and tips on measuring your peak flow.

Know your asthma triggers

Follow these steps to avoid triggers:

  • Keep pets with fur out of your home or bedrooms if animal fur triggers asthma symptoms.
  • Remove dust and mold from your house.
  • Remove yourself from what is triggering your symptoms in the workplace. If you have occupational asthma, even low levels of allergens can trigger symptoms.
  • Limit your time outdoors if allergen levels are high.
  • Keep windows closed and avoid intense outdoor activity when air quality is low. For guidance, check the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Air Quality Forecast Guidance. Thunderstorms can also affect air quality.
  • Take steps to avoid lung infections. Ask your healthcare provider about getting flu and pneumonia vaccines. Wash your hands often to lower your risk of getting viruses and bacterial infections. Learn how COVID-19 can affect your lungs.
  • Tell your provider about all the medicines you take. Aspirin and other medicines may cause serious breathing problems for people with hard-to-treat asthma.
  • Avoid air pollution at home. Keep indoor cooking and heating devices well ventilated.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke.

reducing allergens in your home

Reducing Allergens in Your Home

Get tips on controlling allergens and irritants in your home.

Make healthy lifestyle changes

Your healthcare provider may recommend healthy lifestyle changes to help keep asthma symptoms in check:

  • Aim for a healthy weight. Having overweight or obesity can make asthma harder to manage. Talk to your provider about programs that can help. Even a small weight loss can help symptoms.
  • Choose heart-healthy foods. Eating more fruits and vegetables can provide important health benefits and is linked to a lower risk of developing asthma and better control of symptoms.
  • Get regular physical activity. Even though exercise is an asthma trigger for some people, you should not avoid it. Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Talk with your provider about what level of physical activity is right for you. Ask about medicines that can help you stay active.
  • Manage stress. Breathing and relaxation techniques can help symptoms. Meet with a mental health professional if you have anxiety, depression, or panic attacks.
  • Quit smoking and avoid secondhand smoke. Smoking tobacco and breathing in secondhand smoke make asthma harder to treat. Heating tobacco, inhaling (vaping) electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), and being exposed to secondhand vapor may also worsen asthma symptoms. An ingredient in the tobacco plant that makes you addicted to smoking (nicotine) and flavorings in e-cigarettes may damage your lungs.
  • Get enough good quality sleep. Getting quality sleep can sometimes be hard with asthma. Develop healthy sleep habits, such as going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, following a calming bedtime routine, and keeping your bedroom cool and dark.

Pregnancy and asthma

Your asthma symptoms may change while you are pregnant. You are also at higher risk of asthma attacks. Keep your asthma under control and contact your healthcare provider if anything changes. Your provider may continue to treat you with daily medicines, such as inhaled corticosteroids. If you want to adjust your medicines, talk to your provider first.

Controlling your asthma can help prevent pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, preterm delivery, and low birth weight.

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