Living with Asthma

Asthma is a long-term health issue that affects your lungs. Asthma has no cure, but it can be managed and treated. If you have asthma, you can still live a normal, active and healthy life. Some people have asthma that is hard to treat or does not do well with controller medication. Talk to your doctor more to find out about severe asthma.

Breathe Easier: Learn About Asthma - Audio Podcast Press Play to listen to this CDC Podcast
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A video by American Lung Association

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about Asthma.

What are Triggers?

Kid and MomPeople with asthma have sensitive airways and react to things that they are allergic to and to other things in the air. These are called triggers and some are:

  • Allergens, such as pollen
  • Cockroaches
  • Cold weather
  • Feeling actions, crying, laughing and yelling
  • House dust or mold
  • Infections, such as the cold, flu and sinus
  • Irritants, smoke (tobacco, wood), scented sprays, household cleaners
  • Medication
  • Pets
  • Pollen
  • Smoke
  • Workout, sports
Asthma warnings and risk factors

If you notice any of these signs you may be having an asthma attack and you should call your doctor. The doctor will show you what to do.

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Feeling short of breath or tired
  • Tight chest
  • Sneezing or runny nose

No one knows what causes asthma. Here are some causes that could play a role:

  • Family history.
  • Allergies
  • Tobacco smoke or vaping.
  • Air pollution
  • Obesity
Taking care of your Asthma

Once you know what triggers your asthma, you can control it. Some of these tips may help.

  • Wash pets once a week and keep them away from your bedroom.
  • Don’t let anyone smoke in your home or car. Sit in no-smoking areas when in public places.
  • Use throw rugs instead of carpets. Rugs are easier to wash.
  • Clean damp areas, like bathrooms, often.
  • Use air conditioning if you can. It helps remove pollen from the air.
  • Cover your mouth and nose in cold weather.
Medicines for Asthma

Medicine can help you breathe better. Some meds are inhaled. Some are taken as pills. Your doctor will tell you what kind of medicine you should take and when. Ask your doctor to help you make an asthma care plan and see your doctor at least every six months. Click here to learn more about an Asthma Action Plan.

Physical Activity and Asthma

Physical activity can cause asthma warnings. But that doesn’t mean that people with asthma can’t be active. Here are some tips to help you workout without coughing, wheezing or feeling short of breath:

  • Ask your doctor about taking medicine before you workout.
  • Warm-up for about 10 minutes before your work out.
  • Try not to work or play outside when the air pollution or pollen levels are high.
    If your child has asthma, be sure teachers and coaches know. Let them know what your child needs to do to control asthma.

See your doctor if you have trouble breathing when you workout, do sports, play or work hard. He or she can help you with a plan that helps you stay active.

Is your asthma under control?

Answer these seven short questions to determine your overall asthma control. 

Medicines for Asthma

Medicine can help you breathe better. Some meds are inhaled. Some are taken as pills. Your doctor will tell you what kind of medicine you should take and when. Ask your doctor to help you make an asthma care plan and see your doctor at least every six months. Click here to learn more about an Asthma Action Plan.

How Medicine Helps

Asthma meds keep the air tubes in your lungs open.

  • Medicine makes breathing easier once an asthma attack has started.
  • It helps prevent attacks during physical activity.
  • It helps prevent attacks at night.

Did you know?  Most people who have asthma take two kinds of medication to help them breathe Controller medications taken daily to control airway swelling. Quick-relief medications provide temporary relief from asthma symptoms and they help during an asthma attack.

Inhalers

InhalerMany asthma medications come in a small container called an inhaler. You use the inhaler to spray drug in your mouth. You then breathe the drug into your lungs. If you have an inhaler, make sure you ask your doctor or pharmacist how to use it.

Living with Heart Failure

Peak-Flow Meters

This handheld tool measures how well you can push air out of your lungs. A peak-flow meter can help you know when to take your meds or when your asthma is getting worse. Please watch the following video “How to use a peak flow meter?” to learn more.

Living with Heart Failure

Health Plan of San Joaquin support

Asthma Condition Monitoring

Health Plan of San Joaquin is proud to offer an Asthma Condition Management Program that may help you to better control your Asthma. Our Asthma program is designed to work with your doctor’s care plan for you while educating you on how to take an active role in better self-managing your Asthma.

By taking part in our Asthma program, members learn what their meds do, the proper use of inhalers and spacers, trigger avoidance, ways to take part in and enjoy staying active, and how to identify early warning signs of an Asthma attack before it happens. Talk with your doctor to learn more about your participation in our Asthma program or you may call our Member Services Department at any time to request more information.

If you would like to learn more about our Asthma Condition Management programs or would like to self-refer, please contact our Disease Management staff. We can be reached at 209-942-6352 Monday-Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.

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Sources: American Lung Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Health.

Posted on July 23rd, 2015 and last modified on September 3rd, 2021.

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