How to live well with asthma

It's important to have good asthma control 

Know your medicines and have an Asthma Action Plan

Know about your asthma medicines — including what they are and how you need to take them — will help you to achieve good asthma control.

Your doctor can record important information about your asthma medicines in your Asthma Action Plan.

Use your inhaler devices correctly

Learn how to use your asthma medicines and delivery devices properly. Poor inhaler technique is one of the most common reasons for persistent asthma symptoms.

Your doctor or pharmacist can show you how to use your asthma medicines correctly and check your inhaler technique.

Watch demonstration videos for inhaler devices

Talk to your health professional

Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or asthma nurse about problems or concerns you have with any of your medicines, including side effects. They can advise about your treatment options and suggest alternatives if needed.

You shouldn't need to use your reliever medicine on more than 2 days per week.

See your doctor if you need to use it more often or if it's not working as well as it usually does. This is a sign that your asthma is not well controlled or is worsening. It could also be a sign that you aren't using your inhaler correctly.

Use your asthma medicines as directed

Never stop or change how you take your medicines without getting advice from a health professional first.

Some asthma medicines (such as preventers) need to be taken on a regular, ongoing basis to control your asthma — even when you are feeling well.

Don't use someone else's medicines either unless you need a reliever medicine in an asthma emergency. A medicine that is right for one person may not be right for you.

Use a medicines list

Use a medicines list to help you keep track of all your prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines — and to show your health professionals which medicines you are taking. You can also register online for your Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record (PCeHR).

Lifestyle changes for good asthma control

Your lifestyle can directly affect your health, including your asthma. Lifestyle changes can help you maintain good asthma control, avoid getting sick, and may even reduce the dose and/or number of medicines you need to take.

You can contribute to your overall health and help to maintain good asthma control by making healthy lifestyle choices:

  • quitting smoking
  • eating a healthy, balanced diet
  • drinking alcohol in moderation
  • exercising regularly
  • maintaining a healthy weight.

Asthma Action Plan

Ask your doctor for a written Asthma Action Plan to help you manage your symptoms and recognise worsening asthma.

Your Asthma Action Plan records how to use your medicines when your asthma is under control (good asthma control), and what to do if you have an asthma attack.

Make sure that your written Asthma Action Plan is updated to reflect any changes made to your treatment.

Find out more

References
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  2. Asthma Australia (2013). Taking control of your asthma. [online] (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2011). Asthma in Australia 2011: with a focus chapter on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (Cat. no. ACM 22.). [online] Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  4. Department of Health and Ageing & National Asthma Council Australia (2004). Asthma and lung function tests: an information paper for health professionals. [full text] Canberra: Department of Health and Ageing. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  5. Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) (2011). Guidelines and reports. [full text] (Accessed 10 April 2014).
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  10. National Health Service (2010). Asthma in children. [online] London: National Health Service (NHS). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  11. National Health Service (2010). Diagnosing asthma. [online] London: National Health Service (NHS). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  12. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2011). Omalizumab for severe persistent allergic asthma. [online] London: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  13. Rossi, S. Ed. (2014). Australian Medicines Handbook. [online] Adelaide: Australian Medicines Handbook. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  14. Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (2013). Fact sheet: asthma. [online] Melbourne: Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  15. Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (2013). Fact sheet: asthma — use of spacers. [online] Melbourne: Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  16. Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne (2013). Fact sheet: bronchiolitis. [online] Melbourne: Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH). (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  17. Sweetman S, ed. Martindale: The complete drug reference. [online] Thomson Micromedex, London: Pharmaceutical Press. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  18. The Asthma Foundation of NSW (2006). Healthy pregnancy for women with asthma: an information paper for health professionals. [full text] Sydney: The Asthma Foundation of NSW. (Accessed 10 April 2014).
  19. Therapeutic Guidelines Ltd. (2014). Therapeutic guidelines complete 2014: asthma (eTG42). [online] (Accessed 10 April 2014).

The relevant consumer medicine information (CMI) and product information (PI) have been consulted for every medicine discussed.

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