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Discharge Instructions for Asthma

You have been diagnosed with asthma. This is a condition that causes the airways in your lungs to become inflamed and narrowed. Many things can trigger asthma. With the help of your health care team, you can keep your asthma under control and lead a normal life.

Managing Asthma

  • Take your asthma medications exactly as your doctor tells you.

  • Learn to use a peak flow meter. This meter helps you check how well your asthma is controlled and can help you decide whether you need medical treatment.

  • Be sure to carry a quick-relief inhaler.

  • If one has not already been prescribed to you, ask your health care team about getting a quick-relief inhaler such as albuterol.

  • Ask your health care team whether it is safe for you to take penicillin or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, or nabumetone.

Controlling Asthma Triggers

  • People with asthma are commonly allergic to dust mites. So to avoid triggering a dust mite-related asthma attack, do the following:

    • Cover your mattress completely with a dustproof cover. Use a dustproof cover on your pillow or wash your pillow once a week in very hot water. Wash the sheets and blankets on your bed once a week in very hot water.

    • Don’t sleep or lie on cloth-covered cushions or furniture.

    • Get someone else to vacuum your house. Stay out of rooms while they are being vacuumed. Wait for a short time afterward to return to these rooms.

    • If you must do vacuuming yourself, wear a dust mask (from the hardware store). Use a vacuum with a double-layered bag or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.

  • Do your best to control animal dander in your home. If possible, keep pets with fur or feathers out of your home. If you must have pets in the house, take the following precautions:

    • Keep pets out of your bedroom and keep the bedroom door closed.

    • Cover the air vents in your bedroom with heavy material to filter the air.

    • Avoid carpets and cloth-covered furniture in your home. If this is not possible, keep pets out of rooms with these items.

  • If you smoke, do your best to quit.

    • Enroll in a stop-smoking program to increase your chance of success.

    • Ask your doctor about medications or other methods to help you quit.

    • Ask family members to quit smoking as well.

    • Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your home or around you.

    • Reduce indoor humidity to less than 50 percent in your home. Hygrometers (special meters that sense humidity) can help you determine the percentage of humidity in your home. Dehumidifiers or air conditioners can help you reduce humidity levels.

  • Talk to your doctor if you have asthma symptoms when you are active. You can get advice for managing exercise-induced asthma.

  • Get a flu shot every year.

  • Get a pneumonia shot if one is recommended for you.

  • Try to keep your windows closed during pollen, mold, and allergy seasons.

  • On cold or windy days, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf.

Follow-Up

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Severe wheezing.

  • Shortness of breath that is not relieved by your quick-relief medication.

  • Trouble walking and talking because of shortness of breath.

  • Blue lips or fingernails.

  • Peak flow readings less than 50 percent of your personal best.

Online Medical Reviewer: Berry, Judith, PhD, APRN
Online Medical Reviewer: Hanrahan, Maura, MD
Last Review Date: 11/15/2012
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.