Central Coast News
Ways to Help Manage Asthma More Effectively
What is asthma?
Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the airways in the lungs. These airways are very sensitive and swell up in response to certain triggers. The muscles in the airways tighten and the airway lining becomes swollen and inflamed, producing sticky mucous. These changes cause the airways to become narrow, making it difficult to breathe and causing typical asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
Medication is essential to manage asthma well. Good asthma care also involves treating other conditions that can affect asthma, such as hay fever. A healthy lifestyle can help you stay in control of your asthma symptoms and feel well.
With good asthma management, you can lead a normal, active life. Following your personalised asthma action plan, developed with your doctor, is the best way to keep your asthma under control. An action plan provides simple instructions for routinely managing your asthma, plus advice on what to do if your asthma symptoms flare up.
The main aims of asthma treatment are to:
- keep symptoms under control
- prevent flare-ups or ‘attacks’
- keep lungs as healthy as possible
- stop asthma from interfering with school or work
- help you or your child enjoy a full and active life
Living with asthma can be a challenge, but there are many strategies you can follow to help keep safe and healthy:
Correct use of asthma medicine
The key way asthma is managed is with inhaled medicines – make sure you know what your medicine does and why you are taking it.
See more information at asthmaaustralia.org.au
Avoid cold and flu
Colds and flu are viral infections and are the most common trigger for asthma flare-ups. You can’t really avoid them, but you can reduce your risk of catching viral infections from family members or other contacts by washing your hands before you eat or touch your face, and it’s a good idea to have the flu shot every year.
Use your puffer correctly
The way you take your medicine is the most important thing, otherwise you won’t be getting the right dose in the right place. Ask your GP for further advice to ensure you are inhaling appropriately.
Avoid triggers in the workplace
For some people with asthma, ongoing exposure to triggers such as smoke or dust at work can cause continued inflammation and excess mucus production in the airways, and can make a person’s asthma worse. Where possible, workplaces should avoid using substances that can trigger asthma. This can be achieved by no longer using the substance or substituting it for one that is less hazardous to the person’s health.
Where removal of the workplace trigger is not possible, reducing exposure by using local exhaust ventilation systems or Australian Standards approved respiratory protection devices can also help exposure to triggers. The employer and employee should work together to develop strategies to reduce exposure to triggers and irritants in the workplace.
Cigarette smoke makes asthma symptoms worse and stops the preventer medicine working fully. It has also been linked with more asthma flare-ups and a higher risk of developing asthma in children. Quitting can be difficult; you can find more information about asthma and smoking and where to get help by contacting your GP.
Taking control of your asthma can give you more freedom and improve your quality of life. Contact our GP and they can provide you with further advice and strategies to help effectively manage your asthma now
Call Providence Medical & Dental, Belmont on 4989 1300 or book online
Better Health Victoria www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au
Asthma Australia www.asthmaaustralia.org.au
This article archived 22 Oct 2017
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