|SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center|
How Can I Deal With My Asthma?
Asthma is more common these days than it used to be. The good news is it's also a lot easier to manage and control.
Since more teens have asthma, you're probably used to seeing people take a break from sports to use an inhaler or take a moment after school to test their airflow with a peak flow meter. But even though asthma is a part of so many people's daily lives, there are times when they can feel annoyed or frustrated at having asthma — just as they get annoyed or frustrated by anything else.
Different people have different reactions to the ways that asthma affects their lives. For example, some worry that they might have to avoid all physical activities — even those approved by their doctors — and miss out on fun. Others go to the opposite extreme, denying they have asthma at all and maybe forgetting or refusing to take the medications that can control it. Still others find that asthma is a convenient excuse to get out of chores or gym class.
If you have asthma and don't want it to have control over you, take control first.
The best tool for controlling asthma is something your doctor gives you called an asthma action plan. Following all the steps described in an action plan allows people with asthma to enjoy daily activities just like everyone else.
Your asthma action plan offers you the best protection against potentially dangerous (not to mention embarrassing) episodes — such as having an asthma attack at a party where people are smoking.
Unfortunately, people may not always stick with their plan for lots of different reasons. Maybe they forget to take medications. Perhaps they don't completely understand why they're supposed to take certain steps or medications. A few might feel embarrassed about checking their airflow or using an inhaler in front of others. And some may mistakenly think they don't need medicine after they start feeling better — putting them at risk for potentially dangerous flare-ups.
Here are some simple steps that can help you get around these common problems:
Using a management plan to deal with asthma is good for more than your health. Getting used to following an asthma action plan can give you the discipline to stick with a plan and succeed in other areas of life as well.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD