Monitoring Your Asthma
The first step in effectively managing your asthma is understanding and recognizing the symptoms:
- coughing (daytime or nighttime)
- chest tightness
- breathlessness or shortness of breath
- tiredness or lack of energy
- shortness of breath with activity or exercise
It is important to watch for any of these symptoms of asthma. An asthma episode is easier to stop if you take action immediately. The longer you wait to take action, the more time your airways will have to become swollen and inflamed.
Controlling Your Asthma
Take your quick relief medicine every 4 hours as needed if you notice:
- symptoms of asthma
- coughing at night
- symptoms of respiratory infection
If you do not improve after 24 hours or if you worsen, call the Riley Hospital for Children Pulmonology office at 317.274.7208.
Take your quick relief medicine immediately if you notice:
- the skin on your chest is pulling in as you breathe
- you cannot finish a sentence without an extra breath
- you are very short of breath
If you do not improve within 30 minutes or you worsen, go to the nearest emergency room.
Click here for more signs on when it's time to take your quick relief medicine as well as warning signs of difficult breathing.
Call 911 and take your quick relief medicine if you notice:
- your lips or nail beds are gray or blue
- it is difficult to walk or talk
- you cannot stop coughing
- you have extreme difficulty breathing
Tips for Best Asthma Control
- Long-term control medicines must be taken regularly, every day, even if you feel well.
- Use your quick relief medicine at the first sign of an asthma episode.
- If you need your quick relief medicine more often than every 4 hours, call our pulmonary office or obtain medical attention immediately.
- If you take your quick relief medicine to relieve symptoms every day or if you use it more than 3-4 times in a single day, you may need re-evaluation of your long-term control medication plan.
It is important to relax and remain calm because anxiety can make the symptoms worse. If you become anxious during an asthma episode, try one of the following methods to relax:
- Relax your shoulders and neck. Breathe in through your nose. Breathe out through puckered lips.
- Place hands on your stomach. Breathe in deeply through the nose so you're your stomach and hands rise. Breathe air slowly out of the mouth while watching your stomach and hands fall. Try not to move the chest while breathing.
Block #3 Activity
My Asthma Plan
It is important to have a plan for your asthma. Your plan needs to include what you do on a daily basis as well as what to do when you are ill. This is your chance to design your own plan according to the instructions your pulmonary physician has given you.
You can design it how you wish but it needs to include the following information to be helpful. Please design your plan and bring it to your next appointment with the Riley Hospital for Children Stay Active in Life (SAIL) at Indiana University Health team.
To best control my asthma I will take these medicines daily:
My first asthma symptom is usually:
When I notice this I will take:
If I don’t improve in 24 hours I will:
If I am having a lot of trouble breathing and I am really scared, I will: