|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 maybe you use an inhaler yourself. But even though asthma is a part of so many people's daily lives, there are times when it can seem annoying or frustrating.
Different people have different reactions to the ways that asthma affects their lives. For example, some worry that they might have to avoid exercise and miss out on fun. Others go to the opposite extreme, denying they have asthma at all and maybe forgetting or deliberately not taking the medicines they need to control it. A few people think asthma is a convenient excuse to get out of chores or gym class.
If you have asthma and don't want it to control your life, take control first.
The best way to manage asthma is following an asthma action plan. Your doctor will give you a plan designed just for you. Doing everything on the plan — even when you feel well — will allow you to enjoy life just like everyone else.
Your asthma action plan offers you the best protection against possibly dangerous (or embarrassing) situations, like having an asthma flare-up (attack) at a party where people are smoking.
Unfortunately, people may not always stick with their plan. Maybe they forget to take their medicine. Perhaps they don't completely understand why they're supposed to take certain steps or medications. A few might feel embarrassed about using an inhaler or peak flow meter in front of others.
Some people may think they don't need medicine after they start feeling better. That's not true. Not taking medicines as a doctor tells you to puts you (or anyone with asthma) at risk for 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