Currently there is no cure for asthma, however there are lots of things you can do to manage it better so that it doesn't impact on your life too much. The first step is to learn as much as you can about the condition and the steps you can put in place to control it.
What is asthma?
Symptoms of asthma
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
What is a trigger?
- Animals (cats, horses)
- Dust mites
- Cigarette smoke
- Temperature changes
- Food additives
- Emotional stress
- Air pollution/smog/fumes
- Strong smells
- Pre-menstrual hormone changes
Is your asthma well controlled?
- Do you experience shortness of breath, cough or wheeze with exercise?
- Are you needing to use your reliever more than three times a week on a regular basis?
- There is no or minimal asthma symptoms
- You know which asthma triggers to avoid
- The reliever medication is used less than 3 times a week
- You do not regularly wake in the night with a cough/wheeze
- You do not miss days off school or work because of asthma
- You are reviewed by your GP every 6 months
What is a reliever and what is a preventer?
Reliever medication works quickly, enabling you to continue your daily routine. However, the reliever does not prevent the lining on the inside from becoming swollen causing risk of blockage and limitation of airflow.
Preventer medication works very slowly, over a period of days to months to reduce the inflammation and sensitivity. Preventers need to be taken every morning and night, every day, even when well to be effective. Preventers are a long term medication that should not be stopped but may be gradually reduced under your doctor's supervision.
What is a spacer?
Cleaning your spacer
Wash your spacer weekly
- Remove base only from the spacer
- Wash them in warm soapy water (nothing scratchy)
- DO NOT rinse the bubbles out, DO NOT towel dry
- Leave on the bench to AIR DRY
- Replace base once dry
- Spacer is now ready to use
Age 0-3yrs: Use a mask with the spacer device.
Age 3-5yrs: Mask is replaced by the mouth-piece.
Age 5+ yrs: Continue to use a spacer device!
- Shake medication
- Insert into base end of spacer
- Place lips around mouth piece to create a seal
- Press MDI once
- Breathe in and out normally through the mouth 6 times
- For further doses, repeat steps 1-5
- Listen for the "butterfly" valve clicking when you breathe in and out (with the e-chamber model)
- Replace after 12 months of use
Do you need to know more about Asthma? Need to see a Nurse?
Are you struggling with your asthma? Alternatively, you have ideas of how we might be able to help you help us continue working with people and families in the Waikato with asthma or COPD? Whatever it is, please don't hesitate to get in touch.