5 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, independent life

If you’re moving out of your family home, you have enough to think about without your asthma getting in the way. Luckily, doing even one of these things will help you manage your asthma symptoms and avoid asthma attacks – leaving you free to focus on enjoying your new life.

1. Keep your reliever inhaler with you

All of us get a bit forgetful when we’re in new places or have new routines. Try keeping your reliever with your keys, phone charger, or your bag so you always remember to pick it up before you leave home. You could ask your doctor for more than one – so you can just keep one in your bag all the time.

2. Set reminders to take your preventer inhaler

A new home or new area of the country might mean you meet new asthma triggers. You can’t avoid things like dust mitesmould, or your new housemates’ obsession with scented candles - but taking your preventer every day as prescribed makes your airways less likely to react.

Tips for remembering your preventer:

  • Set reminders on your phone.  
  • Put your preventer inhaler somewhere where you’ll definitely see it. For example, next to your mirror, moisturiser or hair products, or on your bedside table.
  • If now you’ve moved out you’re planning on being out late, it’s worth taking your preventer early in the evening. As – let’s be honest – if you get back late and a maybe little drunk, you’re likely to forget to brush your teeth, let alone take your preventer. 

Danielle talks about controlling her asthma

Asthma UK talks to Danielle about how she's taken control of her asthma.

Video: Danielle talks about controlling her asthma

Asthma UK talks to Danielle about how she's taken control of her asthma.
Danielle case study

0:00 Having asthma as a child was difficult at times because I've got a lot of triggers like pollen and smoke even just like going outside became an issue so walking past someone having a cigarette

0:09 It’d trigger me to have really bad symptoms and it was just because it was really, really unpredictable. My parents were really supportive when I was diagnosed, when I was 18 months old.

0:21 I didn't like my inhaler so they made it into dolls and lots of silly things like that. And they just got me into a really, really good routine with my asthma, so making sure that I took my preventer inhaler

0:31 twice a day, at the same time the stuff like that to make it really, really easy. But then, when I went to university, that changed because of, like, the change in the area and my routines changed and

0:42 that's when I really started to struggle

0:47 My asthma had reached a point where it had become life limiting and potentially life-threatening in the way that because I hadn't been, because I didn't even take my preventer inhaler when I was poorly, it

0:59 meant that it was affecting the elasticity of my airways, and I got told that eventually, one day, I would have an asthma attack, and because the elasticity which was decreasing in my airways there was nothing that anyone could do, and it would probably end up killing me.

1:17 I reached out to Asthma UK when I was really, really struggling and I got sent a load of resources like the Peakflow Diaries, and just leaflets about being an adult with asthma, and ways to just manage it and little things you don't

1:31 even think about. Now, since I've been in a really good routine with my asthma, it's really, really changed. It's not as noticeable and I can do a lot more than I used to be do. Like, I do open water

1:42 swimming, I've done the Great North Swim. And I dance, do whatever I want to and that's because it's all come under control, and become well-managed.

3. Register with a new doctor

Use NHS Choices to find your nearest doctor and tick this off your to-do list. It’s easy to do and your medical records will be transferred, so your new GP will know all about your asthma.

Our page on getting the best out of the NHS will help you make sure you get the right care.

4. Get – and use – an asthma action plan

Make an appointment with your new GP as soon as you can to make, or review, your asthma action plan. Filling out this personal plan with your doctor, and using it, makes you four times less likely to go to hospital with an asthma attack.

Once you’ve filled it in, keep a picture of it on your phone and share it with good friends. It’s got everything you need to know about looking after your asthma every day and – most importantly – what to do if it gets worse.

5. Tell your new housemates

You don’t need to call an intense house meeting or anything but do casually tell your new housemates that you have asthma. You could explain what they should do if your symptoms get worse and tell them where you keep your reliever inhaler. Then they’ll be ready to help if you have an asthma attack.