Five ways to manage your asthma when you leave home

A handy checklist to make sure asthma doesn’t get in the way of your new life away from home

Health advice > Living with asthma

Whether you’re off to university or moving away for a new job, find out the best ways to continue looking after your asthma well when leaving home for the first time.

On this page:

1. Use an asthma action plan

Using an asthma action plan means you can keep managing your asthma well, even with lots of changes going on in your life. You’ll also be at a lower risk of being admitted to hospital for your asthma.

Once you’re set up with a new GP, make an appointment to review your asthma action plan. If you haven’t got an action plan yet, you can download one here and take it to your appointment.

It’s a good idea to keep a photo of your action plan on your phone. You could also share a copy with your new housemates or workmates.

2. Set reminders for your preventer inhaler

Taking your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed means you’re less likely to have asthma symptoms. Try setting reminders on your phone to make sure your usual preventer routine doesn’t slip.

Bear in mind that you will have a new daily routine. Try to find ways to help you remember to take your medicines, whatever you are doing.

3. Keep your reliever inhaler with you

For quick relief of your asthma symptoms or in case of emergency, always keep your reliever inhaler with you. Try keeping it with your keys, phone, or bag so it’s easy to pick it up before you go out.

You can ask your doctor for more than one reliever inhaler so you always have one spare in your bag or the car.


How often do you use your reliever inhaler?

Did you know that using your reliever inhaler three times a week or more is a sign that your asthma is not well controlled?

See your GP or asthma nurse for an asthma review as soon as you can.

4. Register with a new doctor

As soon as you move, it’s important to register with a new doctor. Use the NHS website to find your nearest surgery. If you’re starting university, there may be a doctor’s surgery on campus. Once signed up, your medical records will be transferred, so your new GP will know about your asthma.

You can then set up an electronic prescription service to make sure you’ve always got a new inhaler before you run out.

Setting up with a new doctor is important in case your asthma symptoms get worse. You can also book an annual review, order repeat prescriptions or update your asthma action plan.

Find out if you can get any financial support with your prescriptions.

5. Prepare for new triggers

Living somewhere new might mean you come across new asthma triggers. For example, pollution or pollen might be worse in the area. Or you may be exposed to dust mites, mould or cigarette smoke in your new home.

You could set up alerts for air pollution levelspollen and weather conditions which can all trigger asthma symptoms.

Take your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed so that you’re less likely to react to new triggers. And remember to always carry your reliever inhaler with you.

If you’ve moved away for the first time, you may find yourself in more situations where people are drinking alcohol. Some people find alcohol triggers their asthma, so it’s important to watch how much you drink and choose your alcohol wisely.


Last updated January 2021

Next review due January 2024

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