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Harvard Commentaries
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Harvard Commentaries
Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School


Essential Tips On Being Prepared


July 30, 2014

Asthma
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Keep On Track
Essential Tips On Being Prepared
Essential Tips On Being Prepared
htmAsthmaEssentialTips
When you have finished creating your own asthma management plan, make sure you aren't missing any of the following pieces of information.
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InteliHealth
2011-12-16
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InteliHealth/Harvard Medical Content
2013-12-08

Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Essential Tips On Being Prepared
 
When you have finished creating your own asthma management plan, make sure you aren't missing any of the following pieces of information:
 
Know Your Medications
 
Treating asthma is a bit trickier than treating many other conditions. If you have high blood pressure, for example, you might take one or two drugs twice a day. A person with asthma, though, can have four different drugs to take, but at different times and for different reasons. To simplify things, write the names of each drug and when to take it on your action plan. Even better, use a permanent marker to write a key word or phrase — such as "for wheezing," "before exercise" or "every day" — on your inhalers.
 
When To Call For Help
 
The most important part of managing asthma is knowing when to call for help. Your health-care provider may want you to call any time your peak flow readings or your symptoms change, such as when you notice you are using your reliever more often each day. Some people realize they are getting worse when they need to refill their inhalers earlier than usual.
 
On the other hand, your health-care provider may want you to call only when your symptoms don't respond to the initial changes in your treatment as outlined in the asthma management plan. Your plan should spell out when you need to see your health-care provider in his or her office, as well as describe the warning signs that mean you should go straight to the hospital.
 
Other Precautions
 
Even if your asthma is under control, you should always be prepared for an attack. For most people, this means carrying your bronchodilator (reliever) at all times. You might keep a spare inhaler at work, at school, in your care, at the gym, etc. And don't forget your asthma drugs when you travel. You may find that your exposure to triggers is increased once you arrive at your destination.
 
At home, make sure that your doctor's phone number is posted by the telephone so that you don't have to search for it during an attack. It also makes sense to carry the doctor's phone number in your wallet or purse in case you need medical help when you're away from home.
 
If you have been hospitalized frequently or required assisted ventilation (breathing by machine)during severe asthma attacks, you might also consider wearing a medical alert bracelet to inform others of your condition. And, of course, being prepared also means being informed.

 

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