Dealing with an Asthma Setback

We have all been there. Our asthma has been under great control and we feel on top of the world. Like finally things in our lives seem semi normal and we can breathe.
And then, BAM. Asthma rears its ugly head.
This happened to me recently. Along with being a Respiratory Therapist I am also a severe asthmatic. My asthma had been under fantastic control since the beginning of this year. I wasn't needing to use my rescue inhaler hardly at all. A nice change from needing it multiple times a day as was often the case in the past.
I started noticing my asthma acting up but didn't pay much attention. I didn't want to acknowledge it. This was a mistake on my part. It took a coworker pointing out that my lungs were a mess for me to realize I needed to call my doctor. I finally made the call and went in to be seen at his office. He added another inhaler to my regimen to help get my asthma back under better control. I remember walking out of his office feeling really upset. I was disappointed that I had to add another medication to the others I already take on a daily basis. I know so many other asthmatics out there can relate. No one wants to take more medications. Over the years I have learned to deal with and cope with asthma setbacks.

It's okay to be bummed
This is completely normal feeling and reaction to have when our asthma acts up or after a major asthma exacerbation. Try not to be too hard on yourself about it. I keep a journal that I write my feelings down in. It also gives me something to look back on when I'm not feeling great where I can read about my good asthma days and know that I will have good days and bad days.

Talk about it
Don't keep your feelings and frustrations bottled up. It is okay to talk about it and will help you feel better about the situation. Talking with family and friends is a great start. I also highly recommend finding a community of fellow asthmatics who truly know what you are going through and can completely relate. Whether it is online or an in person community of fellow asthmatics, being able to share experiences and just being there to vent to is so important.

Be realistic
Being realistic is vital to lung health. Know that asthma is a disease that is always changing and even if you are adequately controlled on medications and lead a healthy lifestyle, you might still have flare ups. It is important to not minimize your symptoms. Pay attention to your body. Track your peak flow and keep a diary of your symptoms. Look for any patterns. When things are starting to act up, follow your asthma action plan.

Give yourself time
After an asthma setback or flare up, give yourself time to rest and heal. It can take time for you to be back on your feet and feeling better. Rest is key. Don't expect to feel back to your normal self right away. This is another thing that is hard for me. I have three young children at home and trying to rest is pretty difficult. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

Having asthma set backs are a nature of the beast. We have all had them. I'd love to hear any ways that you have found helpful below in the comments!

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