What Triggers Your Asthma?
Most asthma patients are fairly confident they can recognize what triggers their condition. Some people are more susceptible to attacks during the springtime with the abundance of pollens, while others only need a whiff of perfume or pet hair to begin reaching for their inhaler. Even if you’re familiar with your triggers, tracking them can show you patterns you might otherwise miss.
Diligently tracking your episodes can be extremely useful for your doctor to understand how often you’re triggered and how your body responds to each trigger. Your body’s response will vary depending on what caused the attacked, the severity of the attack and how long your airway has been inflamed.
Tracking Your Asthma Symptoms in an Allergy Journal
There are many health organizations that recommend the use of an allergy journal for asthma patients. You can use an app, an empty notebook, or even a special section of your weekly calendar or agenda. The main requirement for your allergy journal is that it’s readily available a majority of the time, so you can accurately detail your attacks.
Every day, make sure to carefully take notes on:
- Where you were triggered (ie, outdoors or indoors)
- Any quick-relief medications used
- How well the medication worked
- Any doctor’s interventions or hospital visits required
Some people also find it helpful to note the day’s weather, especially if you’re frequently triggered by environmental factors like pollen, smoke, or grass.
If you’re struggling to manage your asthma, the AsthmaMD app may be helpful. It’s an award-winning application that allows patients to track symptoms and triggers, as well as their daily lung performance. You’ll need to purchase a peak flow meter, which can be found in most pharmacies and online for less than $15, in order to track your daily lung performance.
Noting your daily peak flow reading in the AsthmaMD app produces easy to read graphs that give you a visual sense of your lung performance over time. In many instances, your daily peak flow will reveal changes in your asthma before you are able to feel them.
An additional feature of this app is that it can be used to help asthma research. If you enable data sharing, your data is anonymized and used by health professionals who are tracking the factors that influence asthma in different locations around the United States.
Proactive Health Management for Asthma Patients
If you have asthma, taking proactive steps to protect your health is important. Keeping a journal helps give your doctor as much information as possible, so they can ensure your treatment plan is effective for your unique needs.
If you’re receiving a biologic injection or infusion for your asthma, your allergy journal can arm your provider with much needed information on the efficacy of your treatment. For patients with persistent asthma who receive regular Xolair injections, this can make a huge difference.
During this time of COIVD-19 uncertainty, the CDC recommends that those with moderate to severe asthma take extra precautions in protecting themselves from the virus and to closely follow their asthma action by avoiding known triggers.