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Asthma Attack

Since asthma is a chronic disease, treatment goes on for a very long time.  Some people have to stay on treatment for the rest of their lives.  The best way to improve your condition and live your life on your terms is to learn all you can about your asthma and what you can do to make it better.

  • Become a partner with your health care provider and his or her support staff.  Use the resources they can offer -- information, education, and expertise -- to help yourself.
  • Become aware of your asthma triggers and do what you can to avoid them.
  • Follow the treatment recommendations of your health care provider.  Understand your treatment.  Know what each drug does and how it is used.
  • See your health care provider as scheduled.
  • Report any changes or worsening of your symptoms promptly.
  • Report any side effects you are having with your medications.

These are the goals of treatment:

  • Prevent ongoing and bothersome symptoms
  • Prevent asthma attacks
  • Prevent attacks severe enough to require a visit to your provider or an emergency department or hospitalization
  • Carry on with normal activities
  • Maintain normal or near-normal lung function
  • Have as few side effects of medication as possible

 Self-Care at Home

Current treatment regimens are designed to minimize discomfort, inconvenience, and the extent to which you have to limit your activities.  If you follow your treatment plan closely, you should be able to avoid or reduce your visits to your health care provider or the emergency department.


  • Know your triggers and do what you can to avoid them.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Do not take cough medicine.  These medicines do not help asthma and may cause unwanted side effects.
  • Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can cause asthma to worsen in certain individuals.  These medications should not be taken without the advice of your health care provider.
  • Do not use nonprescription inhalers.  These contain very short-acting drugs that may not last long enough to relieve an asthma attack and may cause unwanted side effects.
  • Take only the medications your health care provider has prescribed for your asthma.  Take them as directed.
  • Do not take any nonprescription preparations, herbs, or dietary supplements, even if they are completely "natural," without talking to your health care provider first.  Some of these may have unwanted side effects or interfere with your medications.
  • If the medication is not working, do not take more than you have been directed to take.  Overusing asthma medications can be dangerous.
  • Be prepared to go on to the next step of your action plan if necessary.

If you think your medication is not working, let your health care provider know right away.

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