Asthma: Action Plans are Key!

There are more people with Asthma worldwide than is actually documented, because not everyone knows the signs and symptoms. But for those of us with documented asthma, we should have an asthma action plan to prevent flare-ups and hospitalization.

What exactly is asthma?
Asthma is a long-term disease that causes narrowing of the airways due to an allergic type reaction or hypersensitivity. The bronchus (airways) spasm, making breathing a very difficult task.

What are signs and symptoms?
Coughing: that is usually worse at night or early in the morning, making it difficult for you to sleep.
Wheezing: high pitched whistling or squeaking that occurs when you breathe- coughing won’t make it go away.
Chest tightness: your chest just feels tight, like there is a vice on your upper body and you almost physically feel like you cannot take a deep breath.
Shortness of breath: no matter how much air you take in, it is not enough.

What can cause it to flare?
Since asthma can be caused by allergens, many of the “triggers” for asthmatics, are: Allergens: Dust, animal fur, bugs (such as cockroaches), mold and pollens
Irritants: cigarette smoke, chemicals, air sprays (hair, room scents), bug sprays
Medications: aspirin containing medications, beta blockers (for heart rate control)
Viruses: causing upper airway/respiratory infections
Physical activity: cardio exercise

Treatments:
There are tons of treatments, ranging from taking anti-allergy medication, to inhaled steroids to oral steroids, inhaled non-steroidal treatments, and emergency inhalers (which immediately open up the airway in an emergency). I will talk more about Asthma treatments in my Asthma: Medical and Alternative treatments blog!

Action Plans: What are they?
Action plans are super important in the treatment of asthma. Literally, they are plans that you, the patient, and your HCP come together and create. You create plans so that you know what are the early signs and symptoms of a flare-up are, what your triggers are, and what you should do as soon as you realize you are going to have an asthma attack. For some people, it is to take their rescue inhaler, some can stave off an attack by drinking ice cold water, others just need some caffeine, and some people need to go immediately to the Emergency Department (ED) because they will have a major attack. Action plans help to prevent those trips to the ED, and to prevent those major asthma attacks that can keep children out of school, and people out of work.

It is imperative that you are a part of the action plan, because it is your body and your life, if part of it is unfeasible, then you know you will not do it, so speak up and have open and honest conversations with your HCP, because we all want you to be successful and stay healthy. So, if you are allergic to dogs, but have one, be honest and tell your HCP that you are not going to get rid of your dog, and work on a way that maybe your dog sleeps in another room, and you use a HEPA filter in your room to clear the air. There are many different plans, and tons of different treatments, we need to create one that is good for you, and that you will stick to!

Go to http://www.nursebridgid.com/2011/07/asthma-medications-and-alternative.html (unable to link, so you will have to cut and paste in your browser) for more treatments…….

Yours in Good Health
B

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