Managing your asthma

Managing your asthma

Asthma is a long-term condition. It is important to remember that asthma symptoms (like coughing, wheezing and being out of breath) may not be there all the time and can come and go.

Sometimes when you are a teenager your asthma can get milder but this depends on how severe your asthma is. However, it doesn’t go away and it is possible it may come back when you are older. It is important to remember it can be a serious condition and if you don’t look after yourself properly it can lead to a severe asthma attack. By properly taking the right inhalers and medicines and with regular check-ups with your doctor or nurse, your asthma shouldn’t stop you doing whatever you want to.

Keeping fit

Whilst it's true exercise can trigger your asthma, it is really important to exercise and keep fit! Regular exercise can actually help improve your asthma, but you should follow these instructions to look after your asthma while your are exercising.

  • If needed, use two puffs of your blue reliever inhaler just before you start exercising
  • If you start to cough, wheeze or feel short of breath:
    • Stop
    • Take two puffs of your blue reliever inhaler and wait until you feel better before starting again
    • If you don't feel better, take two more puffs of your blue inhaler and tell someone 
  • If your asthma stops you from exercising or doing sport often - speak to your doctor or asthma nurse as this is a sign your asthma is not well controlled

If your asthma is controlled there is no reason you can't compete in P.E. or sports days - you can do anything!

A lot of famous sports stars have asthma, including England footballer Paul Scholes and world champion marathon runner Paula Radcliffe. Having asthma doesn't stop them - if they can do it so can you.

Healthy eating

All children aged 5 years and over, young people and adults should try to eat a healthy balanced diet – this is one that provides the right amount of energy and nutrients and allows us to grow, maintain a healthy weight, and keep healthy.

The government's eatwell plate (see picture) shows the different food groups and the proportions that we should eat to have a healthy balanced diet. It is not necessary to eat the different food groups in these proportions every day but it is a good idea to try to achieve these proportions over the course of a week.

The plate shows the different food groups:Eatwell plate

  • Starchy foods
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Meat, fish, eggs and other sources of non-dairy proteins
  • Foods high in fat or sugar

In order to have a healthy balanced diet that provides us with all the nutrients necessary for health, we need to include choices from the four main food groups in the proportions shown. Foods high in fat or sugar are not essential to health and should therefore form the smallest part of the diet.

Some people with asthma can also have allergies to certain foods, which can make your asthma much worse very quickly. You should go and see your doctor urgently if every time you eat a certain food it makes your asthma much worse and you suspect you have a food allergy.