If you’re one of the 2.7 million Australians who suffer from asthma, a disease of the airways that causes the muscles to tighten, then you’d know that springtime can be a difficult time of year thanks to the temperature changes and the surge in pollen in the air.
Pollen is a common trigger for asthma sufferers as it can worsen or flare up symptoms like wheezing, breathlessness, and tightness in the chest. And if you’re wondering why, it’s because pollen is an allergen (in simple terms, a substance that causes an allergic reaction).
The good news is there are multiple ways to manage asthma and its symptoms during this time of year, Eric Chan, head of pharmacy at Blooms The Chemist tells Starts at 60. Read on to learn three simple ways to manage asthma symptoms during spring.
According to Chan, being prepared means having your medication ready and checking that your inhalers are in date.
“It’s important to make sure that your asthma medication is in date and always ready to use,” Chan says.
Chan explains that it’s also important to make sure that you have your preventer and reliever inhalers on you at all times, adding if instructed to by your GP, use your preventer inhaler daily.
If it’s been a while since you last looked at or spoke to your GP about your Asthma Action Plan, now’s the time to follow-up on that. Chan recommends reviewing your plan with your GP to identify the two or three main warning signs that your asthma symptoms are getting worse and what action you should take in that situation.
“Every person with asthma should have an Asthma Action Plan to assist with asthma self-management,” he says.
“If you or a loved one needs extra support or information, you can call the free Asthma Australia helpline on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462.”
Chan says your Asthma Action Plan should include:
When it comes to using your inhaler, Chan says it’s important to have the correct technique down pat, explaining that, “Having proper technique means that each puff becomes more effective, and you need to use the inhaler less.”
He adds common mistakes to avoid when using your inhaler include holding it in the wrong position, not breathing in deeply enough, not breathing in at the same time as pressing down on the canister and taking several puffs without waiting or shaking the inhaler in between.
“Talk to your local pharmacist and ask them to advise you on proper inhaler technique,” he says.
With spring well and truly here, asthma sufferers across Australia brace themselves for the challenges it brings. But don’t let asthma put a damper on your springtime experiences. Chan’s guidance offers simple strategies to help you navigate this season with ease. So, stay prepared, revisit your Asthma Action Plan, and make sure you know how to use your inhaler properly. With these steps, you can savor spring’s wonders without worrying about asthma holding you back.
This article was originally published on October 2, 2020, and has been updated on September 25, 2023.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.