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Management of asthma

​​​In 1999 the British Thoracic Society (BTS) and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) agreed to jointly produce a comprehensive new asthma guideline.  This guideline was last updated in 2014 and provides recommendations based on current evidence for best practice in the management of asthma.

Visit the British Thoracic Society website for more information

There are several groups of medication and treatments used in the management of asthma.

  • Short acting bronchodilators
  • Long acting bronchodilators
  • Inhaled corticosteroids
  • Anti leukotrienes
  • Theophyllines
  • Antimuscarinics
  • Oral steroids
  • Anti IgE treatment
  • Bronchothermoplasty
  • Allergen avoidance
  • Weight reduction
  • Smoking cessation – avoid passive or active exposure to smoking
  • Breathing exercises – helps to reduce symptoms​

Asthma reviews
It is an important aspect of asthma management to attend an annual asthma review at the GP surgery.  It will help you to make sure you're on the right asthma plan.  Everyone with asthma should have an asthma review at least once per year – those with severe asthma should have one more often.  You should go, even if you feel well – it is your chance to make sure your asthma stays well managed so that you can get on with doing the things you enjoy. 

To complete an Asthma Control Test questionnaire click on the link- Asthma control test

The best way to stay on top of your asthma is to remember to take your prescribed medication as directed by your GP/Practice nurse or Asthma team. If you develop any side effects from the medication, please make an appointment at your GP surgery for a review.  It is crucial to continue to take your preventer medication every day to control your asthma.  If you need to use your reliever medication three times per week or more on a regular basis, you should seek a medical review.  If you have severe asthma and your reliever medication does not relieve your symptoms for four hours, you should seek an immediate medical review.

To obtain information about prescription costs and/or purchase a prepayment certificate (it could save you money!) visit the NHS Choices​ website.

Personal Asthma Action Plan (PAAP)
You should have a written plan of action, including peak flow readings, so you will know what to do if your asthma gets worse, or if it gets better.  Your personalised plan can be completed by your GP, practice nurse or hospital asthma team.  Try and remember to take your management plan to all of your asthma appointments so that it can be reviewed or updated as necessary.

  • To tell what is going on in your lungs, rather than guessing by how you feel
  • To find out if your medicine is working or if you need to change the amount you're taking
  • To keep a record of how well you've been and show this to your GP or asthma nurse
  • Act quickly if your peak flow tells you it's an asthma emergency

Click to download -  Peak flow diary

You can talk to your GP or asthma nurse about having the flu vaccination.  This usually happens in the autumn.  You can also talk to them about the pneumococcal vaccination which protects you from pneumococcal infection. The GP or practice nurse may/ may not give you your vaccinations if you are taking prednisolone at the time.

Smoking can make asthma medicines less effective, increase the risk of an asthma attack and permanently damage your airways.  Stopping smoking can be difficult, but it will have a massive impact on your asthma.  You can ask your GP or asthma nurse for advice about smoking cessation services and nicotine replacement therapy.

People wanting to quit or find out more can contact the NHS Time to Quit service on 0800 043 4304 or visit the NHS Time to Quit service website.

Telehealth can support people with management of their asthma. For more information, click on the following link: Telehealth Information Florence

NHS 111 – the non-emergency care number

Sometimes, you might need to call for help when it's not a life-threatening emergency.  The NHS 111 service is available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.  Calls from landlines and mobile phones are free, just like 999.  NHS 111 is staffed by a team of fully-trained advisors, supported by experienced nurses who will assess your symptoms and then put you directly in touch with the people who can help.

You should call 111 if:

It is not a 999 emergency

  • You think you need to go to A&E or another NHS urgent care service
  • You don't think you can wait for an appointment with your GP
  • You don't know who to call for medical help

For less urgent health needs, you should still contact your GP in the usual way.  For IMMEDIATE, LIFE-THREATENING EMERGENCIES, you should continue to call 999.