Asthma in Teens and Adults - Treatment Overview
It's important to treat asthma, because even mild asthma can damage your airways.
Know the goals of treatment
By following your treatment plan, you can meet your goals to:11
- Prevent symptoms.
- Keep your peak
flow and lung function as close to normal as possible.
- Be able to
do your normal daily activities, including work, school, exercise, and
- Prevent asthma attacks.
- Have few or no side
effects from medicine.
- Asthma: Taking Charge of Your Asthma
Follow your asthma action plan
An asthma action plan tells you which medicines to take
every day and how to treat
asthma attacks. It also may include an
asthma diary where you record your
peak expiratory flow (PEF), symptoms, and triggers.
This helps you identify triggers that can be changed or avoided. It also lets you be aware of
your symptoms and know how to make quick decisions about medicine and
treatment. See an
example of an asthma action plan(What is a PDF document?).
- Asthma: Using an Asthma Action Plan
You'll likely take several medicines to control your asthma and to prevent attacks. Your doctor may adjust your medicines depending on
how well your asthma is controlled. Medicines include:
- Oral or injected corticosteroids. These medicines may be used to get your asthma
under control before you start taking daily medicine. They can also be used to treat any sudden and severe
symptoms (asthma attacks), such as shortness of breath.
- Inhaled corticosteroids (controller medicine). These reduce the
inflammation in your airways. You take them every
day to keep asthma under control and to prevent asthma attacks.
- Short-acting beta2-agonists and
anticholinergics (quick-relief medicine). These medicines are used for asthma attacks. Overuse of quick-relief medicine can be
deliver medicine directly to the lungs. To get the best asthma control possible, be sure you know how to use your inhaler. Use a spacer with your inhaler if your doctor recommends it.
- Asthma: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler
- Asthma: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler
Go to checkups
Be sure to monitor your asthma and have regular checkups. Checkups are recommended
every 1 to 6 months, depending on how well your asthma is controlled.
Monitor peak flow
It's easy to underestimate how severe your symptoms are. You may
not notice them until your lungs are functioning at 50% of your
personal best peak expiratory flow (PEF).
PEF is a way to keep track of asthma symptoms at home. It can help you know
when your lung function is getting worse before it drops to a dangerously low
level. You can do this with a
peak flow meter .
- Asthma: Measuring Peak Flow
asthma triggers increases symptoms. Try to avoid irritants (such as smoke or air pollution) or things
that you may be allergic to (such as
animal dander). If
something at work is causing your asthma or making it worse (occupational asthma), you may need to wear protective gear, switch to some other task or area, or change jobs.
- Asthma: Identifying Your Triggers
If you have persistent asthma and react to
allergens, you may need to have
skin testing for allergies.
Allergy shots (immunotherapy) may be helpful.
- Allergies: Should I Take Allergy Shots?