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Living with

With treatment, most people with asthma can live normal lives. There are also some simple ways you can help keep your symptoms under control.

If you have asthma, things you can do to help include:

It's important to identify possible asthma triggers by making a note of where you are and what you're doing when your symptoms get worse.

Some triggers can be hard to avoid, but it may be possible to avoid some, such as dust mites, pet fur and some medicines.

Find out more about how to prevent allergies

Speak to a doctor or asthma nurse for advice if you think you've identified a trigger for your symptoms.

Asthma UK: asthma triggers

You'll have regular contact with your doctor or asthma nurse to monitor your condition.

These appointments may involve:

It's also a good chance to ask any questions you have or raise any other issues you want to discuss.

You may be asked to help monitor your condition between appointments. For example, you may be advised to check your peak flow if you think your symptoms may be getting worse.

Your personal action plan should say what to do if your symptoms get gradually or suddenly worse. Contact your doctor or asthma nurse if you're not sure what to do.

Cold weather is a common trigger for asthma symptoms.

There are things you can do to help control your symptoms in the cold:

Asthma UK: weather and asthma

Asthma should not stop you from travelling, but you'll need to take extra precautions when going on holidays and long trips.

Make sure you have enough medicine with you, and keep your reliever inhaler easily accessible.

If you've not seen your doctor or asthma nurse for a while, it's a good idea to see them before you travel to review your personal action plan and make sure it's up to date.

Your doctor or asthma nurse can also advise you about travelling with asthma.

Asthma UK: asthma and travel

Asthma does not affect your chances of having children, and the vast majority of women with asthma will have a normal pregnancy.

Generally, treatment stays the same during pregnancy. Most asthma medicines, particularly inhalers, are considered safe while pregnant or breastfeeding.

But you should speak to your doctor or asthma nurse for advice if you become pregnant or are planning a pregnancy.

This is because:

Find out more:

Most children with well-controlled asthma can learn and participate in school activities without being affected by their condition.

But it's important to ensure the school has up-to-date written information about your child's asthma medicines, including what they are, how much they take and when they need to take them.

You may also need to supply the school with a spare reliever inhaler for use if your child experiences symptoms during the school day.

Staff at the school should be able to recognise worsening asthma symptoms and know what to do in the event of an attack, particularly staff supervising sport or physical education.

Your child's school may have an asthma policy in place, which you can ask to see.

Asthma UK: asthma at school and nursery

Many people with long-term health conditions such as asthma experience feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

You may find it helpful to talk about your experience of asthma with others. Patient organisations have local groups where you can meet people who have been diagnosed with asthma and have undergone treatment.

If you feel you're struggling to cope, talk to a GP. They will be able to give advice and support. Or you can find depression support services in your area.

HealthUnlocked: asthma community

British Lung Foundation: Breathe Easy support groups

Most adults with asthma will need to pay a prescription charge for their medicines.

If you need to take a lot of medicines, paying for each item individually could get quite expensive. You may find it cheaper to get a prescription prepayment certificate. This is where you pay a one-off charge for all your prescriptions over a 3- or 12-month period.

You will not need to pay for your medicines if you do not normally pay prescription charges. For example, all under-16s are entitled to free prescriptions.

Read more about prescription costs to find out if you're entitled to help with your prescription charges.

Asthma UK: managing the cost of your medicines

Benefits

Depending on how severely asthma affects you on a daily basis, you may be entitled to some benefits, such as:

If you're on a low income, you may also be entitled to some help with healthcare costs.

Asthma UK: benefits and severe asthma

GOV.UK: benefits

Work-related asthma

If you develop asthma because of your work, and this is fully documented by your doctor and your employer, you can make a claim for Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.

This is a weekly amount paid to people with asthma caused by work-related exposure to a specific substance known to be associated with asthma.

Health and Safety Executive: substances that cause asthma

If you want to take legal action against your employer because of occupational asthma, your lawyer must act within 3 years of diagnosis.

Asthma UK: occupational asthma

GOV.UK: Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit

Money Advice Service: money issues if you're ill or disabled