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How to cope with Asthma

Over 5.4 million people in the UK suffer from asthma and, for many, it is a disease that affects every aspect of their lives. Although there is no cure, asthma is treatable and, with good management, it can be kept under control, allowing anyone to live a full and active life.

The first, and most critical, step to living with asthma is knowing your asthmatic triggers. These are outside stimuli that cause an abnormal reaction in a person’s immune system and it is these reactions that can bring on asthma attacks. Allergic reactions are often treatable, via antihistamines or allergy shots. For the best diagnosis on allergens, always consult a doctor.

The next step is prevention. This is a critical step to fighting asthma triggers. Using a preventive inhaler every day, if one has been prescribed to you, is the best weapon against asthma attacks. Remind yourself to use a brown inhaler with these techniques:

  • Set a daily reminder on your phone

  • Leave a sticky note reminder somewhere you will see it, such as on the mirror or next to your keys

  • Put your preventive inhaler somewhere easy to spot, such as on a bedside table or with other medications you take.

  • Make it part of your daily routine by taking it at a set time each day, like just after brushing your teeth.

Know your surroundings. Allergens such as pollen, mould and animal dander are everywhere, so being aware of these asthma triggers can be critical to help prevent an attack, both at home and in the workplace.

Remember to keep a blue inhaler on hand just in case. Always make sure to keep an inhaler in a pocket or handbag whenever leaving the house.

Another quick and easy step is to inform those around you about your asthma. Let them know about your symptoms and where you keep your blue reliever inhaler, making sure they know which inhaler you need. This is particularly valuable in the workplace. Although asthmatics aren’t obliged to inform their employers about their condition, it is highly recommended that all first-aid personnel are informed and trained to be able to help those who suffer an asthma attack.

The vast majority of jobs can be done by a person with asthma with no particular difficulties, though always be aware of possible workplace triggers for allergies. If these triggers are present, it is possible to have them removed by informing an employer or a member of Human Resources.

Some jobs, however, do have minimum fitness requirements, such as the armed forces. If you have received treatment for asthma within the last four years, you are not eligible to join a branch of the armed forces. There are still many support positions available for asthma sufferers who wish to serve.

These restrictions should not prevent asthma sufferers from looking after their physical health though. In fact, regular exercise can be an excellent defence against asthma. A good diet and a balanced exercise regime can help strengthen the body, improving the lungs and increasing stamina, to reduce most asthma symptoms.

In addition, this exercise can strengthen the immune system, which will help fight off asthma-triggering colds. Government guidelines recommend 150 minutes of exercise a week for adults. This can be a mixture of strenuous and moderate exercise, though a well-rounded exercise regime is most effective. Most importantly, minimise the amount of time spent stationary behind a desk.

Finally, make sure you are registered with your nearest doctor and that they are fully aware of your condition. This is a simple process but can make all the difference when it comes to treatment after an attack.

Through planning and consideration, asthma can become an easily manageable disease. No matter what lifestyle you lead, get rid of the worry of asthma attacks and live your life to the fullest.

Page last reviewed: July 2018

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