How to tell if your asthma is getting worse

Asthma control can fluctuate throughout the year or even day to day depending on changes in the environment, trigger exposure or how frequently you're taking your medication. It is essential to monitor your asthma and be aware of these changes.

Little girl using nebuliser

Many people use a peak flow meter (a type of lung function test) to monitor their asthma, this test may be carried out by a GP but can also be done with a home peak flow meter.  Some people keep a regular peak flow diary to monitor their lung function, so they can tell very quickly if their asthma starts to get worse. 

Apart from a lung function test, your symptoms are also an important indicator of worsening asthma. If you notice any of the following, you should see your doctor as soon as possible to start bringing your asthma back under control:

  • Waking at night with coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath or a tight chest
  • Increased shortness of breath on waking up in the morning
  • Needing more and more reliever treatment (more than twice a week) or reliever not working very well. 
  • Unable to continue your usual level of activity or exercise

Family with Asthma Action Plan

If you have an Asthma Action Plan, it will contain some personalised information about how to know and what to do when your asthma is getting worse. If you are concerned about your asthma, don't hesitate to visit your health care professional to discuss getting your symptoms under control as quickly as possible.

To order an Asthma Action Plan or Peak Flow Diary please contact the Asthma Society of Ireland on 01 8178886 or by email 

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