Although millions of individuals suffer from the chronic lung condition known as asthma, it is often viewed as a “childhood disease.” While it is true that children with asthma must be cared for and supported, adults with asthma need support as well.
How Can You Support Adults with Asthma?
If you know an adult with asthma, it is important that you know how to help. If you are an adult with asthma, you can educate others so they know how to best support you. Support your friends with asthma in the following ways.
1. Ask for a copy of their asthma action plan.
Particularly if you are a close friend or relative, studying an asthmatic’s action plan is a great way to help in the event of an emergency. An asthma action plan records an individual’s symptoms and triggers, as well as exactly how to respond during an asthma attack.
2 Don’t ask them to overdo it.
Since people without asthma don’t know what it’s like to have asthma, they occasionally (and unintentionally) pressure their asthmatic friends to overdo it. Whether the situation involves alcohol, exercise, or an event with bad air quality (such as secondhand smoke), respect an asthmatic’s boundaries.
3. See if there is anything you can do to help during flare-ups.
If you know your loved one just suffered from an attack or flare-up, ask if you can do anything such as picking up groceries, dropping off a meal, etc. Your friend may decline but feel grateful for the offer of help.
4. Be willing to listen.
More than anything, people with invisible illnesses just need someone to be there for them. Don’t try to offer advice or counsel. Simply provide a listening ear.
Joining an Adults with Asthma Support Group
According to Tonya Winders, president of the Allergy and Asthma Network, “The more severe the disease becomes and the more it impacts a person’s life, the more they want to have the support of someone who is walking the same path.”
1. Share tips and tricks that have worked for you.
Whether you developed asthma as a child or as an adult, you probably have some tips that make your life a little easier. While not everyone’s asthma symptoms or triggers are the same, you can help others find new ways to increase their comfort.
2. Learn new tips and tricks that have worked for others.
On the flip side, other adults with asthma may have discovered some helpful hacks that you have never tried. Meeting in a support group allows you to learn more about the experiences of others and what carries them through.
3. Find comfort in knowing you are not alone.
Loneliness is just as harmful as any chronic disease, and it is important for adults with asthma to recognize that they are not the only ones having a hard time. Getting together for the sole purpose of encouraging one another is comforting and beneficial.
4. Learn to recognize symptoms and triggers more easily.
Studies show that educational meetings, groups, and outreaches help educate the general public about chronic conditions such as asthma. The more educated a person is about asthma, the easier it is to recognize signs, symptoms, and triggers for asthma attacks. A support group improves physical health as well as mental.
What if There’s No Support Group Near You?
If you don’t know of a nearby support group for adults with asthma, start your own! If you have friends with asthma, get them together, set up a time and place to meet, and publish public announcements. You could make all the difference in the world to your community while helping yourself in the process.