The Asthma Support Checklist For Loved Ones
Last updated: October 2022
Does your family not quite understand your asthma? Is your asthma not taken seriously amongst your friends? Does your boyfriend or girlfriend want to help manage your asthma, but doesn't know where to start?
This is an article for all of the loved ones in your life that may need a little bit more education regarding your asthma. It is meant to be shared amongst coworkers, friends, spouses, siblings, or whoever you feel called to share with. Everyone’s asthma is different, but there are certain steps you can take to better understand and help someone with their asthma.
How to help someone with asthma
Don’t know what asthma is? That is a question that may be a good place to start. There are different types of asthma, so it may also help to ask what type your loved one has.
Learn what inhalers and nebulizers are, and how they work. Ask about the medications they take, and how often they need to take them. Understanding what triggers and flare-ups are is also important! Don't hesitate to ask your loved ones about their asthma; this is the best way to learn. You can also scour through articles on our site if you want to dive deeper into certain asthma topics.
Get to know their triggers
Triggers are what can cause an asthma attack. Common triggers include animal dander, fragrance, smoke, and pollen. Some people can also be triggered by extreme temperatures, stress, and certain foods.
As stated before, everyone’s asthma is different, so it is best to ask what someone’s triggers are. Lighting a floral scented candle may seem innocent enough, but this could be enough to trigger someone into having a full-blown asthma attack.
Know where they keep their inhaler
I try to know where my partner’s inhaler is (most of the time). The inhaler generally lives in his backpack and sometimes in the glove compartment in the car. Sometimes neither of us knows where it is, and that is a scary time. Yikes!
Hopefully, your loved ones have one spot they keep their inhaler consistently. If not, it could be very helpful if you had an idea of where the inhaler is kept. Knowing this could be especially helpful when your partner is having a hard time breathing or speaking.
Know where the closest hospital is
Not to sound dramatic, but knowing where the closest hospital is could literally be life-saving. Most people with asthma are prepared with their inhaler and other medications, but going to the hospital may be necessary in the case of a collapsed lung or lung infection.
Luckily we have Google Maps on our phones nowadays, but what if you’re out of service or its dead? It is especially important to know where a hospital is when you're traveling somewhere new!
Take asthma seriously
Something we commonly see on Asthma.net is community members sharing that their family does not take them seriously. We hear about people spraying clouds of perfume near their asthmatic partners. There are the family members that can’t help but bring their pets to family gatherings (bringing triggering animal dander with them!).
Asthma is an invisible illness and it does not show it’s symptoms all the time, and this is one reason why people don't take it as seriously. Despite this, it must be taken seriously and treated like a chronic illness. Even if you cannot see the symptoms of asthma, it does not mean it has "gone away".
Show your support
Certain chores, like mowing the lawn or cleaning a dusty basement, can be a terrible trigger for your loved asthma. Offer to do chores that may involve dust, mold, grass, or pollen. Extreme hot and cold temperatures can also be a trigger, so offer a helping hand in these conditions.
How do you help loved ones with asthma?
By following the steps listed in this article, you can show your support to your loved ones. Your support can make your loved one’s asthma more bearable. It has taken me about a year to get to know my partner's asthma and its' patterns. We only buy fragrance-free laundry detergent and cleaners, and avoid cats. Extreme cold or heat is challenging for his asthma, so I now know he needs to take it easy in these temperatures. Getting to know your loved one's asthma can show that you truly care.
What has your experience been with your loved one's asthma? What tips do you have to help someone with asthma? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Has laughter ever triggered your asthma?