"I find it really useful to mark down when my asthma has been bad"

Sophie Dishman’s symptom diary helped her spot a new asthma trigger and make sure she’s always prepared

"I was diagnosed with asthma in 2014 after going to the doctors with a pain in my chest. My asthma is relatively mild so I haven’t had any major challenges. But as a journalism student I’m always rushing around and sometimes I feel my chest getting tight. When this happens I slow down and take my reliever inhaler."

Prepared for anything

"My triggers are hay fever and exercise. I can’t avoid either of them so I have to be prepared. During the summer I take hay fever tablets and have my blue inhaler with me at all times. I also take my brown inhaler once in the morning and once at night to make sure I don’t react to any triggers I come across.

"I’ve started setting a reminder on my phone to make sure I take my brown preventer inhaler in the morning – it’s easier to remember at night because I have to do other health-related tasks so I'm less likely to forget.

Sophie Dishman"Since my last appointment with my GP I’ve also been given an asthma action plan which details what medicines I use and my peak flow. I keep an electronic copy on my phone too so if I have an asthma attack at university then it’s there - I've never had to use it yet thankfully!

"I also have a number of inhalers in visible places - my brown inhaler is next to my mirror and I have a blue one in my bookcase and in other rooms in the house.

"The advice I’d give any other students with asthma is to make sure you have your inhalers with you at all times and make sure that you are always stocked up. You don’t want to get to a point of needing them and then not having any puffs left."

Spotting a pattern

"If your asthma triggers can’t be avoided - like mine - then keep a diary of how your asthma is. I find it really useful to mark down when my asthma has been bad so that I can tell the nurse. It means I can see if there were any extra triggers, or if I am developing a chest infection. And it helped me work out that my asthma is worse in the summer because I have hay fever. I get a blocked nose and that makes it harder for me to breathe so it means I can’t do as much outdoor exercise as I would like. I realised this when I went for a run and couldn’t breathe after a mile!

"I also remember to check the pollen count and take my hay fever tablet in the morning if it’s high, which minimises the effect it has on my asthma. Both of these things have helped keep my asthma under better control."

Feeling supported

"Asthma UK helped me when I was first diagnosed. They offered me a helping hand on Twitter pointing me to the resources on their site and the Helpline. They’ve also helped me recently by reassuring me that the Helpline is there if I need to speak an asthma nurse straight away. It’s so helpful knowing that they are there."