Asthma Managing Asthma
How to manage your asthma at home
To help you keep your asthma under control, you can:
- Look for training or support groups. Ask your doctor about asthma training or support groups to help you keep asthma under control.
- Educate yourself so you can understand the purpose of your medicines, how to prevent symptoms, how to recognize asthma attacks early, and when to seek medical attention.
- Monitor your air flow. As part of your asthma action plan, your doctor may show you how to control your asthma using a peak flow meter. Keep track of them in a record. You can compare your numbers over time to make sure 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 doctor visit. 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 strenuous 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.
- Get the flu vaccine each year to help prevent the flu, which can raise the risk of an asthma attack. See below for information on COVID-19.
- Tell your doctor about all medicines you take, because aspirin and other medicines may cause serious breathing problems in people with severe asthma.
- Keep indoor cooking and heating devices well-ventilated.
- Avoid tobacco smoke, including secondhand smoke.
Make healthy lifestyle changes
Your doctor may talk to you about healthy lifestyle changes to help keep asthma symptoms in check.
- Aim for a healthy weight. Being overweight and having obesity can make asthma harder to manage. Talk to your doctor about programs that can help. Even a 5% to 10% weight loss can help symptoms.
- Choose heart-healthy foods. Eating more fruits and vegetables can provide important health benefits.
- 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 doctor about what level of physical activity is right for you. Ask about medicines that can help you stay active.
- Manage stress. Learn breathing and relaxation techniques, which can help symptoms. Meet with a mental health professional if you have anxiety, depression, or panic attacks.
- Quit smoking or avoid secondhand smoke. Smoking tobacco and inhaling smoke from secondhand smoke make asthma harder to treat. Heating tobacco and inhaling (vaping) electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) and being exposed to secondhand vapor may also be linked to asthma symptoms. NIH-funded research suggests that an ingredient in the tobacco plant that makes you addicted to smoking (nicotine), and flavorings found in vaping e-cigarettes can damage your lungs.
- Try to get good-quality sleep. Getting quality sleep can sometimes be hard with asthma. Develop healthy sleep habits by going to sleep and getting up at regular times, following a calming bedtime routine, and keeping your bedroom cool and dark.
Learn more about these healthy lifestyle changes in our Heart-Healthy Living page.
Pregnancy and asthma
Your asthma symptoms may change during pregnancy. Keep your asthma under control and contact your doctor if anything changes. You are also at higher risk of asthma attacks. Your doctor will continue to treat you with daily medicines such as inhaled steroid hormones.
Controlling your asthma is important for preventing pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia, preterm delivery, and low birth weight of the baby.