LIVING WITH ASTHMA

Living with asthma means managing your symptoms and minimizing exposure to your triggers throughout your day. There are many triggers that can cause flare-ups such as: allergens, irritants, respiratory illnesses, physical exertion, extreme temperatures, strong emotions, and stress. That’s why part of managing your asthma, in addition to taking your asthma medications, should be learning how to identify triggers and, of course, how to minimize exposure to them.

Home

The home can have many asthma triggers, and considering it’s where you spend most of your time, it’s important to learn what the triggers are and how best to avoid or minimize exposure to them.

  • Pollen from trees, grass, and weeds is highest during allergy season, so keep your windows closed to keep pollen out.
  • When vacuuming, make sure to wear a dust mask.
  • To reduce your exposure to dust mites, put dustcovers over your pillows and mattress and wash your sheets in hot water at least once a week.
  • Eliminate cockroach droppings and remains by keeping trash covered. Use roach traps if necessary.
  • When using detergents or cleaners indoors, make sure there’s good ventilation. If necessary, wear a mask.
  • Eliminate mold by thoroughly cleaning around leaky faucets or pipes.
  • If you think you may have certain food allergies, confirm it with your doctor so you can avoid them in the future.
  • Sulfites used to preserve certain foods can trigger asthma symptoms. Foods with sulfites include beer/wine and dried fruits. If you’re not sure a food has sulfites, check the ingredients.
  • Avoid cooking hot, spicy foods or foods with powerful aromas.
  • For backyard BBQs, instead of cooking on an outdoor grill that creates smoke, try cooking the food indoors and then bringing it outside.
  • On family camping trips, keep fires far from tents or sitting areas to avoid exposure to smoke.
  • During cold and flu season, ensure everyone’s hands stay clean and ask your doctor about an annual flu shot.
  • Keep dogs and cats away from your bedroom and off the furniture. Frequently vacuum areas that accumulate pet hair and dander.

Travel

Remember that when you’re traveling, your asthma needs the same attention you give it at home. Also, new places can mean new triggers, so researching your destination before you travel can help you avoid any surprises.

  • Make sure you pack all the right medicines.
  • Away from home, it’s easy to get distracted and miss taking your medicine. Use your phone alarm as a reminder or ask a travel companion to remind you.
  • Pack enough medicine for the time you’ll be gone. If necessary, bring additional prescription(s) with you.
  • Keep all medicines with you in a carry-on to ensure you’ll have them if your luggage is delayed.
  • Check your destination for things like pollen counts, weather forecasts, and pollution levels beforehand.
  • Make sure to book hotel rooms that are smoke-free and pet-free.
  • Avoid exposure to dust mites by bringing dustcovers for your hotel pillows and mattress.
  • If your travel is for work, try to find a hotel close by the office to avoid a long, stressful commute.
  • Air inside planes can carry germs. When traveling during cold and flu season, bring a mask just in case.
  • Bring sanitizing wipes to clean potential cold and flu germs off the surfaces around your seat and to use on your hands after visiting the restroom.

Work

If you suspect your symptoms are worse at work, talk with your doctor and then your employer so together you can identify the triggers and learn how to avoid them.

  • If your workplace contains airborne irritants like chemicals, paints, or sawdust, your employer is obligated to move you to an unaffected area.
  • Outdoor designated smoking areas should be clear from doorways and walking paths. Let your employer know if they’re not.
  • In very hot or cold weather, try taking the bus or car to work instead of walking.
  • When driving, help reduce stress by listening to an audiobook.
  • Before stressful meetings, find a quiet spot and try some relaxation techniques or meditation.
  • Stepping outside and taking a short walk is also a great way to alleviate stress at work.
  • Late hours at the office can cause stress and fatigue. When you’ve reached your limit, go home and pick it up the next day.

Physical Activity

Staying active and exercising regularly are important to your overall health. That is why it’s just as important to be aware of the potential triggers associated with physical activity. Before you start any new exercise routine, discuss it with your doctor.

  • If the temperature outdoors is either very hot or cold, dress appropriately or try working out indoors.
  • If you’re exercising out in the cold (e.g., ice skating or skiing) make sure to cover your nose and mouth
  • When going out, avoid wearing heavy perfumes, especially if you could be indoors with poor ventilation.
  • Do a little research on your choice of restaurant. Avoid places that have strong aromas or smoke permeating the air.
  • If your outing has a campfire or bonfire, sit far enough away where the smoke won’t reach you.
  • If people are smoking around you inside, move away.

Important Safety Information for BREO ELLIPTA

  • BREO contains vilanterol. LABA medicines such as vilanterol when used alone increase the risk of hospitalizations and death from asthma problems. BREO contains an ICS and a LABA. When an ICS and LABA are used together, there is not a significant increased risk in hospitalizations and death from asthma problems.

Important Safety Information for BREO ELLIPTA

  • BREO contains vilanterol. LABA medicines such as vilanterol when used alone increase the risk of hospitalizations and death from asthma problems. BREO contains an ICS and a LABA. When an ICS and LABA are used together, there is not a significant increased risk in hospitalizations and death from asthma problems.
  • Do not use BREO to relieve sudden breathing problems. Always have a rescue inhaler with you to treat sudden symptoms.
  • BREO should not be used in children and adolescents. It is not known if BREO is safe and effective in children and adolescents younger than 18 years of age.
  • Do not use BREO if you have a severe allergy to milk proteins or are allergic to any of the ingredients in BREO. Ask your healthcare provider if you are not sure.
  • Do not use BREO more often than prescribed.
  • Do not take BREO with other medicines that contain a LABA for any reason. Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take and about all of your health conditions.
  • Call your healthcare provider or get medical care right away if your breathing problems get worse, if you need your rescue inhaler more often than usual or it does not work as well to relieve your symptoms, or if your peak flow meter results decrease. Your healthcare provider will tell you the numbers that are right for you.
  • BREO can cause serious side effects, including:
    • fungal infection in your mouth or throat (thrush). Rinse your mouth with water without swallowing after using BREO to help reduce your chance of getting thrush.
    • weakened immune system and increased chance of getting infections (immunosuppression). You should avoid exposure to chickenpox and measles, and, if exposed, consult your healthcare provider without delay. Worsening of existing tuberculosis, fungal, bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections, or herpes infection of the eye may occur.
    • reduced adrenal function (adrenal insufficiency). This can happen when you stop taking an oral corticosteroid (such as prednisone) and start taking a medicine containing an ICS (such as BREO). During this transition period, when your body is under stress such as from fever, trauma (such as a car accident), infection, surgery, or worse chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms, adrenal insufficiency can get worse and may cause death. Symptoms include: feeling tired; lack of energy; weakness; nausea and vomiting; low blood pressure (hypotension).
    • sudden breathing problems immediately after inhaling your medicine. If you have sudden breathing problems immediately after inhaling your medicine, stop taking BREO and call your healthcare provider right away.
    • serious allergic reactions. Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical care if you get any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash; hives; swelling of your face, mouth, and tongue; breathing problems.
    • effects on heart: increased blood pressure; a fast or irregular heartbeat, awareness of heartbeat; chest pain.
    • effects on nervous system: tremor; nervousness.
    • bone thinning or weakness (osteoporosis)
    • eye problems including glaucoma and cataracts. You should have regular eye exams while using BREO.
    • changes in laboratory blood values: high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and low potassium (hypokalemia).
    • slowed growth in children.
  • Common side effects of BREO for asthma include: runny nose and sore throat; thrush in your mouth or throat–Rinse your mouth with water without swallowing after use to help prevent this; headache; flu; respiratory tract infection; bronchitis; inflammation of the sinuses; mouth and throat pain; hoarseness and voice changes; cough.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.

Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.