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Occupational Asthma (cont.)

Self-Care at Home

Work with your health-care provider to develop an action plan. Follow your treatment plan closely to avoid asthma attacks. If you do have an asthma attack, the action plan will help you control the attack and make the decision about when to seek medical care.

Since occupational asthma is a chronic disease, you will probably require treatment for a very long time, maybe even for the rest of your life. The best way to improve your condition and live your life on your terms is to learn all you can about your asthma and what you can do to make it better.

  • Become a partner with your health-care provider and his or her support staff. Use the resources they can offer -- information, education, and expertise -- to help yourself.


  • Follow the treatment recommendations of your health-care provider. Understand your treatment. If you are taking medication, know what each drug does and how it is used.


  • See your health-care provider as scheduled.


  • Promptly report any changes or worsening of your symptoms.


  • Report any side effects you are having with your medications.

Precautions that may help reduce your chance of having an asthma attack include the following:

  • Avoid the trigger. In many cases, this doesn't mean you have to quit your job or change your occupation, although you may want to consider that. Most employers will work with you to reduce or remove your exposure to the trigger in the workplace.


  • Take your medications as directed.


  • If you smoke, quit.

If you should have an asthma attack, move to the next step of your action plan. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Take only the medications your health care provider has prescribed for your asthma. Take them as directed.


  • If the medication is not working, do not take more than you have been directed to take. Overusing asthma medications can be dangerous.


  • Do not take cough medicine. These medicines do not help asthma and may cause unwanted side effects.


  • Do not use nonprescription inhalers. These contain a very short-acting inhaler that may not last long enough to relieve an asthma attack and may cause unwanted side effects.


  • These contain a very short-acting inhaler that may not last long enough to relieve an asthma attack and may cause unwanted side effects.


  • Aspirin (Bayer) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen (Advil), can cause asthma to worsen in certain individuals. These medications should not be taken without the advice of your health-care provider.


  • Do not take any nonprescription preparations, herbs, or supplements, even if they are completely "natural," without talking to your health-care provider first. Some of these may have unwanted side effects or interfere with your medications.


  • Be prepared to go on to the next step of your action plan if necessary.

If you think your medication is not working, let your health-care provider know right away.

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