Asthma

Asthma: Over 2 million Australians have asthma – about 1 in 10 adults and children.

Asthma is a chronic disease characterised by recurrent attacks of breathlessness and wheezing, which vary in severity and frequency from person to person. Currently there is no cure for asthma but it’s a treatable and manageable health condition.

Is your asthma under control?

Good asthma control means having all of the following:

  • Night-time asthma symptoms
  • Asthma symptoms on waking
  • Need for reliever medication
  • Restriction of day-to-day activities
  • Days off school or work due to asthma
  • Asthma attacks or flare-ups

Don’t let yourself get used to poor asthma control. Regularly waking from asthma symptoms or using your reliever medication more than 2–3 times a week (except before exercise) should not be a ‘normal’ part of having asthma. If this sounds familiar, see your doctor for an asthma review.

Don’t let asthma stop you or your child being physically active!

Asthma symptoms after physical activity are common but can be prevented. Swimming is popular for children with asthma, but doing other regular sports or activities is just as good.

Tips for getting active with asthma:

  • Do a proper warm-up before exercising.
  • Get as fit as possible – the fitter you are, the more you can exercise before asthma symptoms start.
  • Avoid exercising where there are high levels of pollens, dust, fumes or pollution.
  • Exercise in a place that is warm and humid – avoid cold, dry air if possible.
  • Try to breathe through your nose (not your mouth) when you exercise – this makes the air warm and moist when it reaches your lungs.

When was the last time you had an asthma check?

An asthma health check is a service in the pharmacy where we:

  • Check your Inhaler Technique – Although it might seem simple, it can be hard to get the steps just right. If it’s been a while since you were last shown, it’s easy for little mistakes to slip into your routine. Our simple check can ensure that the dose prescribed by your doctor is the same as the dose received by your lungs
  • Asthma Plan Review – A written asthma action plan will help you recognise worsening asthma and tell you what to do in response. We can review your plan or provide you with one if you don’t already have one.
  • Discuss Allergies and how to treat them
  • Discuss Asthma Buddy – for children with Asthma

Management of Asthma

Managing your asthma properly can help you lead a normal, active life. An asthma action plan can be very useful. Safe and effective preventer and reliever medications for asthma can improve your health and are available for adults and children, but will only work if taken as prescribed. Some people find their asthma symptoms increase if they take other medications, like aspirin.

Asthma & Allergy

At least 4 out of 5 people with asthma also have allergies.

Asthma and allergies are closely linked. Most people with asthma have allergic asthma. As well as following the normal steps for good asthma care, managing allergic asthma involves:

  • Treating hayfever, if you have it
  • Knowing which allergic triggers affect your asthma (e.g. dust mites, pets, pollen, moulds)
  • Avoiding the relevant allergic triggers, where practical and potentially effective

Ask our pharmacist if you need help to identify what you are allergic to, and work out ways to help you avoid your allergy triggers. If you regularly get allergic conditions such as hayfever (allergic rhinitis) or sinus problems (sinusitis), treating the symptoms in your nose and throat can also improve your asthma control.