Treating asthma is more than just taking medicine. It is vital that you take care of your general health, too. Here are self-care strategies to help you reach your asthma treatment goals.
Caring for Your Health
- See your doctor for regular health checkups.
- Make physical activity part of your daily lifestyle.
- Get enough sleep.
- Eat foods that will keep you healthy (low-fat foods, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables).
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water every day (this helps keep mucus thin so that it doesn't clog up your airways).
- Manage your weight.
- Avoid tobacco smoke. If you smoke, stop.
- Learn how to cope with stress in a healthy way; try relaxation and breathing techniques.
- If you feel angry, sad, or fearful about dealing with asthma, discuss your feelings with your doctor or a mental health professional such as a therapist.
Caring for Your Asthma
- Set short- and long-term treatment goals for your asthma.
- Monitor your airways and your symptoms every day. Use your peak flow meter.
- Reduce exposure to your triggers.
- Work with your doctor and healthcare team on your Asthma Action Plan, follow it, and update it if necessary.
- Take your medicine as directed.
- Use an Asthma Diary to track how you feel.
- Know your early warning signs of a flare-up.
- Consider keeping a daily journal. Writing about how it feels to live with a chronic disease such as asthma has been shown to have a positive effect on people.
- Create an open partnership with your doctor and healthcare team. Make sure that you feel comfortable asking questions and sharing information.
- Share your knowledge and experiences with your loved ones. Share this information with them so they can understand and support your efforts to manage asthma.
- Join an asthma support group.
Support groups are a great way to talk to other people who are dealing with the same problems and strategies as you. Sharing ideas and resources can be a great help in dealing with your asthma. Asthma support groups help people with asthma and their families to support each other and share experiences and solutions.
Written by Karen Serrano, MD
Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD
Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine
Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University
Board certified in Allergy and Immunology
Last updated June 2008