Discharge Instructions for Asthma

You have been diagnosed with asthma. With the help of your healthcare provider, you can keep your asthma under control and have less emergency department visits and hospitalizations.

Woman riding bicycle.

Managing asthma

  • Take your asthma medications exactly as your provider tells you.

  • Learn how to monitor your asthma. Some people watch for early changes of worsening symptoms and some use a peak flow meter.

  • Be sure to always have a quick-relief inhaler with you. If you were given a prescription, make sure you go to the drug store or pharmacy to get it filled as soon as possible.

Controlling asthma triggers

Triggers are those things that make your asthma symptoms worse or cause asthma attacks.

  • Dust or dust mites are a common asthma trigger. To avoid a dust mites, do the following:

    • Use dust-proof covers on your mattress and pillows. Wash the sheets and blankets on your bed once a week in very hot water.

    • Don’t sleep or lie on cloth-covered cushions or furniture.

    • Ask someone else to vacuum and dust your house.

    • If you do vacuum and dust yourself, wear a dust mask (from the hardware store).

    • Use a vacuum with a double-layered bag or HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.

  • Pets with fur or feathers are triggers for some people. If you must have pets, take these precautions:

    • Keep pets out of your bedroom and off your bed. Keep the bedroom door closed.

    • Cover the air vents in your bedroom with heavy material to filter the air.

    • Avoid carpets and cloth-covered furniture in your home. If this is not possible, keep pets out of rooms with these items.

    • Have someone bathe your pets every week. And, brush them often.

  • If you smoke, do your best to quit.

    • Enroll in a stop-smoking program to increase your chance of success.

    • Ask your health care provider about medications or other methods to help you quit.

    • Ask family members to quit smoking as well.

    • Don’t allow anyone to smoke in your home, in your car, or around you.

  • Make sure you know what to do if exercise is a trigger for you. Many people use quick-relief inhalers before exercise or physical activity.

  • Get a flu shot every year and get pneumonia shots as advised by your health care provider.

  • Try to keep your windows closed during pollen, mold, and allergy seasons.

  • On cold or windy days, cover your nose and mouth with a scarf.

  • Try to stay away from people who are sick with colds or the flu. Wash your hands often. If respiratory infections, like colds or flu, trigger your asthma, use your quick-relief medications as soon as you begin to notice respiratory symptoms. They may include a runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, or a cough.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.

When to seek medical attention

Call 911 right away if you have:

  • Severe wheezing

  • Shortness of breath that is not relieved by your quick-relief medication

  • Trouble walking or talking because of shortness of breath

  • Blue lips or fingernails

  • If you monitor symptoms with a peak flow meter, readings less than 50% of your personal best


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