General Guidelines for Managing Asthma

Making changes to lifestyle habits can help some people avoid asthma attacks. These changes may be:

  • Reducing exposure to allergens or irritants that trigger asthma
  • Paying attention to warning signs
  • Asking a doctor about physical activity
  • Getting a yearly flu shot
  • Losing weight
  • Getting the flu vaccine
  • Avoiding smoke

Reducing Exposure to Allergens or Irritants That Trigger Asthma

Allergens may irritate asthma symptoms in some people. Reducing contact may help.

Paying Attention to Warning Signs

Get treatment for these warning signs:

  • Shortness of breath and wheezing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Using bronchodilators more often
  • Problems sleeping
  • Frequent coughing, especially at night

Asking a Doctor About Physical Activity

Exercising can improve a person's health and mood. It can also reduce asthma attacks. People with asthma should:

  • Have good asthma control before exercising.
  • Warm up for at least 10 minutes before exercise. This can be walking or other low-intensity activities.
  • Avoid triggers when exercising, such as high pollution levels, pollen, freshly cut grass, or cold.
  • Increase new activities slowly.

Losing Weight

Weight loss may improve control in people who are overweight or obese.

Getting the Flu Vaccine

Asthma can lead to a higher risk of flu-related problems. Adults and children older than 6 months old should get a yearly flu shot.

Avoiding Smoke

Smoking can trigger asthma and make symptoms worse. There are tools that can help people to quit.

Other sources of smoke can also trigger asthma, such as wood stoves or camp fires.

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