Asthma Canada has gathered some tips that everyone with asthma can follow to help manage their asthma in these challenging times.
- Keep taking your controller medication daily or as prescribed. This will help cut your risk of an asthma attack being triggered by any respiratory virus, including COVID-19.
- Carry your reliever inhaler with you every day, in case your asthma symptoms flare up.
- Monitor your asthma symptoms closely and follow your Asthma Action Plan to help you recognize and manage asthma symptoms, and know when to seek advice from your healthcare provider or emergency help.
- If you must travel, pack all asthma medications in your carry-on luggage so it is easily accessible. Pack extra asthma medication in case your travel plans change or are delayed. Be sure to check travel advice and advisories from the Government of Canada’s website.
- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and fluids, and eat good nutritious food.
- Ensure that you speak with your healthcare provider about recommended vaccinations. Getting both the influenza vaccination (flu-shot) and pneumococcal disease vaccination are important steps people with asthma can take to help stay healthy.
- Reach out to Asthma Canada’s Asthma & Allergy HelpLine call-back service to connect with a Certified Respiratory Educator if you have questions about managing your asthma. Call 1-866-787-4050 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Practice social distancing/self-monitoring/self-isolation/isolation as directed by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds.
- Wear a non-medical grade face mask in public and when you are in situations where you are not able to maintain physical distancing, like on public transportation or the grocery store.
- Avoid closed spaces, crowded places, and close contact.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as toys, phones and door handles.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, ears or mouth.
- Stay home if you are sick. Encourage those you know who are sick to stay home until they no longer have symptoms.
- Avoid contact with people who are unwell.
- Make sure that you get high-quality information about COVID-19 from reliable sources. The Public Health Agency of Canada is a reliable source of information, as are provincial and territorial public health authorities.
Proper asthma control is key to staying healthy with asthma and preventing possibly life-threatening asthma attacks. Everyone with asthma should be able to achieve good asthma control. If you’re having trouble staying symptom-free or have any of the signs of poor asthma control listed below, we highly recommend speaking with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Signs of Poor Asthma Control:
- Frequent breathing difficulties, including coughing or wheezing most days
- Asthma impacting sleep; if asthma wakes you up at night, your asthma is most likely poorly controlled
- Inability to exercise without experiencing breathing difficulties
- Relying on the reliever (rescue) inhaler more than 3 times per week. You can find out if you’re relying too much on your blue reliever inhaler by taking this short test
- Severe breathing difficulty or inability to wear a mask
- Recent asthma attack or hospitalization
- You frequently miss work or school due to asthma
What To Do If Your Asthma Is Poorly Controlled
If your asthma is poorly controlled you need to speak with your healthcare provider. It’s vital that you take your asthma seriously and recognize when your symptoms aren’t properly controlled. Over time, poorly controlled asthma can cause permanent damage to your airways. This is called ‘airway remodeling’. It is important to have proper treatment for your asthma to avoid this permanent damage from occurring.
If your asthma is not well controlled, talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms as soon as possible. You can gain control of your asthma by:
- Taking your controller medication as prescribed to minimize symptoms and reduce inflammation in the airways
- Avoiding your personal asthma triggers as much as possible
- Carrying your reliever (rescue) medication with you at all times
- Working with your healthcare provider to create an Asthma Action Plan and following it
- Discussing your asthma with your healthcare provider on a regular basis so that your asthma never becomes uncontrolled and your treatments can be adjusted if necessary
COVID-19 & Asthma
You can learn more about Asthma Canada’s recommendations for COVID-19 and asthma here.
You can make a difference!
The Asthma Canada team, including our Certified Respiratory Educators are working tirelessly to provide the most up to date education and support regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) to the asthma community.
Canadians with asthma are depending on us now more than ever. We are only able to do the work that we do thanks to the generosity of incredible people like you. If you are able to, please consider a donation to support our mission during this time. Thank you!