A key to the proper care of asthma is to educate the patient with regard to this disease. The patient must be thoroughly familiar with all the causes of asthma (see What Causes Asthma?) and know how, if possible, to avoid these causes.
Some asthma triggers and possible methods of avoidance:
encase mattress with a cover
do not smoke, do not allow smoking in your home, and avoid smoke-filled areas
avoid hairy animals
dispose of food properly and do not permit crumbs to be left anywhere in the home
clean moldy surfaces and dehumidify basements
pollen and outdoor mold
stay at home with windows closed and with air-conditioning on during times of high pollen counts
smoke, strong odors, and sprays
avoid situations where products that cause these situations are used
wear a mask while vacuuming
When allergies are suspected, skin testing may be performed to seek out the cause so that proper avoidance measures can be employed.
The patient should also be aware that work place exposure can at times cause asthma (occupational asthma) and if this is occurring the patient must not only see his/her physician, but must also seek the help of an occupational physician familiar with workplace asthma..
Have an action plan which includes the above and which allows you to estimate whether you are doing well, getting worse, or in an alert zone where you are in need of emergency care.
In current asthma treatment, pharmacological management of asthma includes long term management, and management of exacerbations of asthma (in home, in emergency room, and in hospital). In order to understand the management of asthma, physicians need to be familiar with the drugs that are used. Read more about pharmacological asthma treatment
The medications in the current asthma treatment guidelines as proposed and promulgated by the NAEPP require use a stepwise fashion. The last word in treatment is the clinicians’ decision making based on the needs of the patient and the stepwise approach is merely to assist the physician and not replace his judgment. If alternative treatment is initiated first and is not effective, the preferred treatment must be used before going on to the next STEP. Read more about long-term asthma management
When treating asthma patients on an outpatient basis, physicians must consider several aspects of home management, such as severity and response to therapy. Read more about outpatient asthma management
The survival of patients suffering severe asthma attacks often depends on the asthma emergency treatment they receive. All physicians, especially those working in emergency rooms, must know how to deal with patients near or at respiratory arrest. Read more about the emergency treatment of asthma
More than 30 years ago, I invented a diagram to show the changes in arterial blood gas, and since then, my students and residents refer to it as "The Fish". Just one look at it will help you to see why. See the large arterial blood gas diagram: The Fish
Use of a peak flow meter which is a device which crudely measures the flow of air out of someone's lungs is very important in current asthma treatment. The physician must instruct his/her patient how to use this apparatus appropriately, and the results can be extremely useful. Read more about peak flow meter
For a printable PDF of all the asthma information contained on this website, check out this page: Printable Total Asthma