Allergic asthma can’t be cured, but you can manage your symptoms and live your life to the fullest. For your best health now, and in the future, it’s important to work with your health care team to set goals and develop a treatment plan.
Managing your triggers.
An important part of managing your allergic asthma is knowing your triggers (the things that can cause you to have an asthma attack) and finding ways to avoid them. You may have already worked with your doctor to find out what your triggers are. Common triggers include:
- Dust mites
Some triggers are easier to avoid than others. For example, you may not have a dog or cat in your home, but the dander on a visitor’s clothing can put you at risk for an asthma attack. While you may not be able to completely avoid every trigger, here are some tips that can help:
- Wash bedding once a week in hot water
- Use HEPA filters
- Use air conditioning and limit your time outside when pollen or mold counts are high, or air quality is low
- Prevent any dampness in your home – cockroaches and mold like damp places
- Use dust-proof covers on mattresses and pillows
- Keep pets out of your bedroom
- Take your medications exactly as your doctor prescribed
There are a number of medications that can be used to control asthma in the long term, as well as to provide quick relief when an asthma attack happens. The medications your doctor prescribes will depend on your triggers, how often you have symptoms, and how severe your symptoms are.
Medications used to control asthma may be taken through an inhaler or nebulizer, or taken in pill form. Commonly used medications include:
- Inhaled or oral corticosteroids that prevent airway swelling
- Inhaled long acting beta agonists that open the airways by relaxing the muscles around them
- Inhaled combination medications that include both a corticosteroid and a beta agonist
- Biologics that target certain cells or proteins in your body to prevent airway swelling; these are usually given by injection or infusion every few weeks
- Leukotriene modifiers taken by pill or liquid to reduce swelling and relax the muscles around the airways
- Cromolyn sodium, which prevents airway swelling when a trigger is present
- Theophylline, a pill that helps prevent swelling and relaxes airway muscles
You may also be prescribed quick-relief or rescue medications, which work quickly to open airways when you experience symptoms. If you use a quick-relief medication more than two days per week, you should talk to your doctor about adjusting your treatment plan. These inhaled medications include:
- Short acting beta agonists
- Combination medications that include both a short acting beta agonist and an anticholinergic
If you use an inhaled medication, it’s important to use the inhaler correctly to make sure you’re getting the right dose of your medication. If you need help with your inhaler, talk to your doctor or nurse.
Be sure to take all of your medications exactly as prescribed and talk to your doctor or CVS Specialty CareTeam if you have questions or concerns.
Your asthma action plan.
Anyone who has asthma should have a written action plan that includes the medications you take, how to recognize worsening symptoms, and what to do in an emergency. Here is an example of an asthma action plan. If your child has asthma, it’s important to share the plan with anyone who cares for your child, including daycare, school and babysitters. Your doctor can help you create a plan that works best for you.