As winter sets in, it is a good time to see your GP to review your asthma management. Most asthma attacks are triggered by the common cold and other respiratory viruses which are most prevalent at this time of year. Good control of your asthma reduces the impact of these bugs.
What to ask your doctor
- Are you on the right asthma medication? Do you need to take a preventer through winter for better control? Are you taking the right dose of medication?
- Are you using your inhaler correctly? Ask your doctor to check your technique.Check out the National Asthma Council website (below) for videos on correct use. Ask your GP if you should use a spacer.
- Should you have a flu shot? Influenza can trigger asthma attacks and people with asthma are at a higher risk of complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis or ear infections. Take care to prevent colds and flus.
- Do you need a personalised asthma action plan? A plan helps you recognise worsening symptoms and includes clear instructions on what to do in an acute attack.
- Are other medicines making your asthma worse? Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, beta blockers and certain eye drops can trigger asthma attacks, as can complementary medicines like royal jelly, echinacea and willow bark.
- Should you get your allergic rhinitis (hayfever) treated? An itchy, runny or blocked nose due to allergies makes asthma harder to control.
- If you smoke, ask your doctor for help to quit. Smokers have worse asthma control and respond less well to treatment.