As the season changes and pollen starts filling the air, it may be time to visit your doctor and make an asthma action plan.
There is no one-size-fits-all action plan for managing asthma, and it can affect children and adults. Understanding what triggers flare-ups can make the condition easier to manage.
Some signs that you may not be managing your asthma effectively include:
- Using a rescue inhaler more than twice a week.
- Visiting an urgent care center or the emergency room frequently because of asthma.
- Having frequent flare-ups but not knowing what’s triggering them.
- Losing sleep from wheezing and coughing.
Your primary care provider (PCP) can help you:
Understand your triggers.
Allergies to pollen, dust mites, mold, pet dander, and other environmental allergens can trigger flare-ups. Irritants and air pollutants like cigarette smoke, smog, high levels of ozone, and strong chemical odors can also trigger asthma attacks. Your doctor may recommend getting tested for allergies to check whether your asthma could be triggered by allergens.
When you visit an allergist, the doctor will:
- Take a medical history.
- Ask you about your symptoms.
- Do a physical exam.
- Conduct allergy tests, if indicated.
Create an action plan and take medicines as prescribed.
Your action plan may include:
- Your daily maintenance medicines, if applicable.
- Ways to avoid things that trigger your asthma. For example, if you are allergic to dust mites, you may need to use dust mite-proof pillow covers.
- What to do when you have a flare-up, such as how, when, and how often to take an emergency inhaler. (These videos can help demonstrate how to use an inhaler correctly.)
- How to reach your care team when you have an asthma attack.
- An asthma diary, where your doctor may ask you to write down your triggers and a number called “peak flow.”
If you have a history of asthma, you should get the flu, COVID-19, and pneumonia vaccines. Catching a respiratory illness may put you at added risk for a bad asthma flare-up – even one that may be life-threatening.
Need extra support?
ConnectiCare has registered nurses available to help our members. Your PCP can refer you, or you can call yourself: 800-829-0696. Nurses are available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
For more information on asthma, visit: