Cold weather, dust mites, viruses and pollution can cause havoc for people with asthma but these simple tips by Dr Andy Whittamore, Asthma UK’s Clinical Lead, can help you to stay well.
An inhaler a day keeps your triggers at bay
An asthma preventer inhaler prevents inflammation and swelling in your airways, but many asthma sufferers still forget to take it.
If you use your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed, your airways will be less sensitive.
This means you’re at less risk of an asthma attack when you come in to contact with triggers like dust, cold air, pollution or viruses!
The preventer inhaler is usually brown, but this may vary. Check with your GP or asthma nurse if you are unsure.
Also remember to carry your reliever inhaler (usually blue) with you at all times.
Inhaler technique – are you doing it right?
There is a right and wrong way to use an inhaler. Using a correct inhaler technique helps you breathe the medicine straight into your lungs, where it’s needed.
Want to check you’re using your inhaler properly? Asthma UK has a series of short videos you can watch.
Know what to do if you are having an asthma attack
Asthma attacks can be very scary and knowing what to do during one is key.
If you are having an asthma attack, Asthma UK offers the following guidance.
- Sit up straight – don’t lie down – and try to keep calm.
- Take one puff of your reliever inhaler every 30-60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
- Call 999 if you feel worse at any point, or if you don’t feel better after using 10 puffs of your reliever inhaler.
- Take your blue inhaler again after 15 minutes. If you’re waiting for the ambulance for longer than 15 minutes, take one puff every 30-60 seconds, up to a maximum of 10 puffs.
Make sure you have your FREE flu vaccine!
If you’ve ever been stuck in bed with flu, you’ll know it really is no fun. But if you have asthma then flu is even more horrible, putting you at risk of asthma attacks and complications like pneumonia.
Getting the flu vaccine is simple and you don’t always need an appointment. If you’ve been prescribed a preventer inhaler alongside your blue inhaler, you can get the flu vaccine for free.
In some areas you can avoid the hassle of an appointment by going to your local pharmacy (take your brown inhaler or prescription with you to prove you’re eligible).
Some surgeries also run flu clinics where you can just turn up and get the jab.
If you’ve got questions about the flu vaccine, Asthma UK has information on its website.
Even gentle activity can cut your asthma risk
Exercise can be good for your asthma. The key message from Asthma UK is that as long as you’re looking after your asthma well, and your symptoms are under control, you can enjoy any type of exercise, from a brisk walk to a marathon!
It is also really good for our body and mind to get some exercise every day. Not only does it improve how your lungs work, but it boosts the immune system too which means you’re less likely to get colds and flu, which can trigger asthma attacks.
Cold weather can often set off people’s asthma symptoms, so when you’re exercising, pop a scarf over your nose and mouth to help warm up the air before it goes into your lungs.
Find more information on how to stay well with asthma
or call the Asthma UK nurses on 0300 222 5800