This post was created in partnership with the American Lung Association. All opinions are my own based on my personal life and asthma management.
Travel. A travel writer. A girl with an action plan.
Everyday Life. How I live each day!
Asthma, travel, and everyday life.
Life and how I am in control of my asthma.
Travel, everyday life, and asthma management.
Amidst all the current world situations, I know my travel-writing days will return shortly and I am thrilled.
I can breathe because I have been able to lessen the severity of my asthma symptoms as I am in control of my asthma.
Are you in control of your asthma?
My pillows, bedding, closed windows, and limited exposure to all the blooms are in the threshold of my control, not someone else.
Therefore I have been able to decrease asthma incidence.
May ushers in a lot of great holidays to celebrate like Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day.
As well as celebrations, there are awareness months.
Did you know that May is Asthma Awareness Month?
Naturally, with all of the on-going world events and asthma, I look towards May as a month of further education about asthma.
In fact, there are 5 characteristics of asthma management I’d like to share.
As a result, knowing these 5 characteristics of asthma management will allow help you in ascertaining the ability to Breathe Well and Live Well.
5 Characteristic of Asthma Management
#1 Understand Asthma Basics & Your asthma
First, to make asthma management a bit less overwhelming, I want to address something.
When I thought it was ‘just me’ suffering through attacks of asthma, bouts of choking, asthma management seemed harder.
Because I sought help (treatment for asthma management), the door in front of me, that was holding me in, suddenly was kicked in and no longer a barrier.
Indeed I learned that I am only one of an estimated 19 million adults living with asthma.
Suddenly, I was not alone and asthma management became a whole lot less scary.
Asthma management provides evidence-based best practices for those that suffer from asthma attacks.
Therefore, it was the first baby step in learning how to take control of my asthma and feel better.
At its core, understanding my asthma allowed me to have not suffered from attacks that were as severe, which was huge.
Better yet, knowing that over this mountain, or hurdle, whatever you want to call it, was a way to improve my quality of life.
Knowing this, and this alone was enough to motivate me, but everyone is different, keep reading, because there’s more.
As previously mentioned, it is Asthma Awareness Month and the American Lung Association offers an incredible self-management education program for adults with asthma.
It’s called Breathe Well Live Well.
#2 Get Trigger Happy!
As a result of guidance from my health professional, I learned that asthma has triggers.
Triggers result in attacks.
Attacks result in a decrease in quality of life.
Really? I want to live my life to the fullest.
Do you know what triggers your asthma attacks?
Certain pillows and dust mites are on the frontline of my ‘uh-oh’ list.
Followed by pollen and stress.
Smoke-filled air (tobacco) really puts a damper on my life.
What do I do?
I got trigger happy.
Solve The Triggers By …
Power is knowledge and knowing what I can and can not allow around me to simply adjust.
Never do I travel to a bar where there is smoke.
Instead, I find smoke-free options.
Also, when I begin to feel ‘pent-up’ from work with stress, I take a walk to detox from the feeling.
When I travel, I have a pillow I take with me.
Pillows can be air-free when you press on them and stash them in a plastic bag, so I do.
I toss off the provided bed pillows and use mine.
As a side benefit, I don’t worry about what was on that pillow before me!
Naturally, my pillows are washed after EVERY trip in order to remain sterile and free of triggers.
Each of these is good health habits and help me steer clear of my triggers.
I learned these through counseling with my medical professional.
When and if there are still issues, I defer to medicine.
#3 There’s A Technique to Asthma Medicine Delivery & Asthma Management
When my doctor provided asthma medicine, he also provided a technique of delivery, did yours?
Just because you have medicine in the palm of your hand does not make the condition better!
You have to understand your medicine and then learn how to deliver it from your mouth to your lungs.
Being honest, I failed miserably when I first got the medicine.
Why? Because of my first provider (whom since I have left).
There was no action plan nor insight!
The first medical professional did not share insight on how to deliver the inhaler I needed daily from my lips to the lungs.
Instead, the scenario was something like this.
“Dana, here’s the inhaler you need. Take it when you feel like there is an onset of an attack, it will help!”
Basically, I got patted on the back and left his office.
Referring back to number 2 above, “when would I have an attack or why? What were the triggers?”
Next, he provided medicine with no explanation of how to take it, and YES this really happened.
I opened up the package, placed the inhaler in my mouth, and then repeated it immediately with a second release of the inhalant.
Asthma Management 101 ~ The Action Plan
Unfortunately, being provided with medicine is not enough.
Compare this medicine mismanagement to this scenario.
You want to drive, and you’ve never driven.
The instructor hands you keys and says, “Go!”
As a result, you put the keys in, hit the gas, and crash!
Now you understand my asthma situation and being provided medication for asthma without proper instruction on how to get it into my system and why!
#4 Demonstrate. Discuss. Understand. Asthma Management entails All Aspects
Your provided health professional or doctor needs to educate you on understanding your asthma (No. 1 above) and provide you No. 2 above your triggers!
As for Number 3, your medical professional has to show you how to deliver the medicine from your mouth to your lungs.
My new doctor did all of this and more!
First, he instructed me, maybe one of the most crucial pieces of information: “after any inhalation of inhaled corticosteroid medications, either brush your teeth or use mouthwash, but don’t swallow. It is a must that you do not allow the inhaled corticosteroid medicine to stay in your mouth.”
What is more, is that he provided me a spacer for the delivery technique.
Since I had never used the inhaler right, the spacer was key to making sure the medicine was delivered properly.
Then, after multiple uses, I understood how the asthma meds needed to be delivered, I began doing it on my own.
Last, each time I had an attack, I needed to keep a journal, which I did.
And thus, the journal helped the doctor identify my triggers and consequently, what quite often was causing these attacks that seemed so random in my eyes.
Accordingly, I take my controller medications on time and have other asthma meds that are used during an attack (yes occasionally they still happen).
This plan, this asthma management provides me the proper medications to feign off attacks and keep those that do happen a lot less severe.
In turn, I have fewer respiratory problems and I stick to my treatments because I love my better quality of life!
#5 Modify Your Asthma Management When Possible
Now, I won’t say that you will have your asthma management plan right the first time you walk out of your doctor’s office.
However, I will say, it’s basically a plan for asthma management that has plenty of room to modify.
For me, it was taking a particular oral tablet daily, then a series of 2 different inhalers at different times, morning and night.
Naturally, the biggest task was the education of what triggered these pesky and life-altering attacks.
Next, it was an increase in what I was already doing, walking and jogging, biking, etc.
More was better, however, being cognizant of ALL triggers at the same time.
Stress management was its own beast, as my job is both competitive and wearing, but it makes me happy!
Therefore, I have to always find the light at the end of the tunnel, long before I get there.
Which is to say, for jet lag, arrive a day earlier, and rest.
Additionally, carry a pillow with me, and when heading outdoors, take a particular inhaler to avoid late-day attacks.
At its core, however, my doctor told me that we can reduce, and change medications as we go.
We have done just this.
Finally, as new medications come to fruition, and spacers are built-in, taking my asthma medications has just gotten easier.
5 Characteristics of Asthma Management. Breathe Well Live Well.
When I need an update on managing my asthma, I look at the Lung Association’s website.
In short, Breathe Well Live Well, shares so many pertinent pieces of information on asthma and living with asthma.
I can gain skills to get my asthma under control with every read and I’ve been taking control of my asthma on every front, and you need to as well.
An asthma self-management program begins and ends with you.
While I don’t mean to seem complacent, I do compare asthma management to investment, one you would make in a home, or expensive car.
You always are updating and modifying those purchases as they are important to you, isn’t your health and lifestyle worth so much more?
For those with underlying health conditions, get those under control too!
Every piece of the puzzle with asthma leads to measured control, led by you taking control!
Seek medical advice and move forward to a new you, it is totally possible!
I am living proof, over 12 years ago I was hospitalized with asthma, and vowed to get help and learn, and I did!
Manage, modify, identify triggers, change, talk to your doctor, read, learn, and visit the American Lung Association website to gain more knowledge. ~Dana xo