There’s no escaping the fact that managing asthma can be expensive. Whether it’s medications or medical visits, make sure you’re getting the most out of what you’re paying for.
Making good choices to improve your general health and wellbeing can help improve your asthma too says the National Asthma Council of Australia. Here are a few of their tips to get you started:
1. Try to take your preventer every day, as per your action asthma plan. It can be all too easy to think “I’m fine – I don’t need to take my preventer today”. A laid-back attitude is the Australian way, but in this case it’s working against you! Make sure you take your daily preventer. These medications are really effective at keeping you well, but need to be taken every day to work properly. It will be cheaper in the long run – fewer medical bills, reliever scripts and days off work or school.
2. Have an asthma review. Ask your doctor to review your asthma and your medication. If it is going well, you may even be able to step back to a lower dose. There is no advantage in taking medicines that are stronger than what you need – that’s no help for your lungs or wallet!
3. Speak up about costs. Some medications are more expensive than others. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about medicine costs, especially if this is stopping you buying and taking your preventer regularly. There may be another option or a generic product that’s cheaper.
4. Ask your pharmacist to check your inhaler technique. Could you be wasting medication? Nine out of 10 people don’t get the full dose out of their inhaler, even people who have been using asthma puffers for years. Getting your technique right could mean each reliever puffer lasts longer and you need to buy less.
5. Use a spacer with your puffer. Use a spacer with your puffer to help you get the most out of each dose – which could be up to 30 per cent more than using a puffer alone. A puffer with a spacer is also simpler, cheaper and handier than a nebuliser but works just as well.
6. Get a flu shot. Viruses like colds and flu are behind many asthma flare-ups. Flu vaccinations are free for over 65s and people with severe asthma, so see your doctor or pharmacist about getting your shot this autumn.
7. Read the fine print on insurance. Check the fine print of your health insurance. Don't be afraid to shop around for the best cover for your needs. Also, check travel insurance policies carefully to make sure they cover your situation.
8. Know your nose. An itchy, runny or blocked nose due to allergies can make your asthma harder to control, which often means a need for more or stronger medication. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about options to clear your nose – it could be as simple as doing regular nasal saline rinses.