Asthma affects about one in seven ten teenagers. Effective management of asthma can reduce its impact on study, sport and social activities.
Asthma affects about one in ten teenagers in Australia. By understanding and managing your asthma, you can keep it under control and stop it affecting your study, work, sport and social activities.
Information about asthma for teenagers
Some things that are useful to know if you have been diagnosed with asthma include:
- You can continue to do what everyone else can and what you used to. Just make sure you look after your asthma.
- Lots of people have asthma (10 per cent of the Australian population).
- If you let your friends know, they can help you if you have an asthma attack.
- Learn about your medications, what they do and how to take them properly.
- Find out what triggers your asthma symptoms and try and avoid it if you can.
- Make sure you keep your reliever puffer and spacer with you all the time (as this could save your life).
- Learn how to recognise what your early asthma symptoms are to help prevent a more serious asthma attack.
- Book in an asthma review with your doctor (this helps to make sure you are able to manage asthma and keep doing the things you like to do).
- Talk to your doctor about what your triggers are, when your asthma symptoms get worse, how often you are taking your reliever medication and then ask for an asthma action plan.
- Learn about asthma first aid and make sure you and the people around you know what to do if you ever have an asthma attack – this will be on your asthma action plan.
Exercise for teenagers with asthma
There are many top Australian athletes who manage their asthma well, which enables them to compete at a very high level. Although exercise can sometimes be a trigger for your asthma, it is also a great way of keeping fit and on top of your asthma.
If you normally have asthma symptoms during exercise, remember to:
Take your reliever medication between five and 20 minutes before warming up (this will help keep your airways open).
Warm up as usual.
Begin your activity and if you have any asthma symptoms, take your reliever medication straight away. You can go back to exercise if the symptoms go away.
Cool down as usual, but also watch for asthma symptoms (they can appear up to half an hour after you have stopped being active).
Remember the two strikes and you’re out rule – if asthma symptoms come back for a second time, stop the activity and take your reliever medication again. We recommend that you should now take a break from the activity.
If you want to know more about asthma and physical activity, there is more information on the Asthma Foundation Victoria website.
Tips to help take control your asthma
Teenagers can successfully and responsibly manage their own asthma through five simple steps that include:
- A spacer is important to use with a puffer as it makes sure that the medication is reaching your airways where you want it to go you and that you are not swallowing the medication (it doesn’t have to be the ‘football’ spacer, there are many smaller types out there for you to use that fit easily into a pencil case or bag).
- Make sure you always have your reliever puffer and spacer with you or nearby (this is what you will use when you have asthma symptoms).
- Make sure that you understand what is on your asthma action plan and that you know what to do when you have asthma symptoms and in an asthma emergency.
- Remember to take your medications, particularly any preventers, as they can take time to begin to work in your body (up to several weeks). They will help improve your asthma so that you can begin to reduce the amount of reliever medication that you use during the day.
- Try to avoid your asthma triggers as much as possible, except for exercise.
Things to remember
- Asthma affects about one in ten teenagers in Australia
- Make sure you keep your reliever puffer and spacer with you all the time
- Talk to your doctor about what your triggers are, when your asthma symptoms get worse, how often you are taking your reliever medication and then get an asthma action plan.
Where to get help
- Your doctor
- Asthma educator
- Your school nurse
- The Asthma Foundation of Victoria Tel. 1800 ASTHMA (278 462)
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Last reviewed: July 2012
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