5 Steps to Help Take Control of Asthma

You’re in the driver’s seat when it comes to managing your asthma. Follow these five steps to help keep your asthma under control.

1. Partner with your doctorey can:

  • Help you develop a written asthma action plan
  • Suggest ways to help you avoid your asthma triggers
  • Show you how to use a peak flow meter to monitor your asthma
  • Make sure you know when and how to use an inhaler correctly

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 2. Learn your asthma triggers

Your asthma triggers may be different from someone else’s. So be familiar with what tends to make your symptoms worse. Once you know your triggers, talk to your doctor about how best to avoid or manage them. Some common culprits may include:  

Allergens. These can cause an allergic reaction. And in some people, they can also trigger asthma symptoms. Common allergens may include:

  • Pollen — from trees, grasses, weeds, etc.
  • Animal dander, dust mites and cockroaches
  • Outdoor and indoor molds

Irritants. These are substances you breathe in that can irritate your lungs. Common irritants may include:

  • Tobacco and wood smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Chemical fumes

Other common asthma triggers may include: 

  • Exercise. If this is your only trigger, then you may have what’s known as exercise-induced asthma.
  • Respiratory illnesses, such as colds.

3. Take your medications as directed

There are two types of medications for asthma:

  • Long-term control medicines help prevent and ease asthma symptoms. They are usually taken every day — even if you don’t have symptoms.
  • Quick-relief medicines are taken to relieve symptoms when they happen — to prevent an asthma attack from getting worse. They’re often inhaled directly into the lungs to help open up airways.

4. Monitor your asthma

Asthma symptoms can change from day to day. That’s why it’s helpful to monitor your condition. It can help you know when to adjust your self-care according to your asthma action plan. Your doctor may suggest these tools for tracking your condition:

A symptom diary. You record your symptoms to help you and your doctor see how well your treatment plan is working.

A peak flow meter. This is a handheld device that measures how well you can move air out of your lungs. The peak flow result tells you if your asthma is under control. It may warn you when you’re getting worse — and can help tell you if your medicine is working during an attack.

5. Follow your asthma action plan

It should include step-by-step instructions to manage your asthma. Your action plan tells you what to do on good days — and also guides you if your symptoms get worse. By following your action plan, you may feel better and reduce your risk of a serious asthma attack.

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What to do next

Do you have asthma and allergies? The two often go hand in hand. Learn how to fight back — and have fewer asthma flare-ups. Go to uhc.com/allergies.


*Check your benefit plan to see what services may be covered.

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be nor should be construed as medical or other advice. Talk to an appropriate health care professional to determine what may be right for you.

Last reviewed June 2017

© 2017 United HealthCare Services, Inc.



Look Here — to Help Spot Skin Cancer

Well, check you out!

No, seriously. Take a look at your skin. Check it. All of it. See anything unusual? Any new spots? Any moles that look different than you remember?

Knowing how your skin normally looks is the first step to spotting a potential problem. And that’s a good thing. Skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Take a good, long look

The key to a good skin check is thoroughness. Inspect your skin on a regular basis. Area by area, look at your:

  • Trunk — front, back and both sides
  • Face, neck, ears and scalp
  • Fingernails, palms, and upper and lower arms
  • Legs, buttocks and genital area
  • Feet, including toenails, soles and between the toes

Some areas, like the scalp, can be difficult to check by yourself. Use a handheld mirror for those hard-to-see areas — or ask a loved one to help you out.

Look for moles that are different or changing — or that itch or bleed. See your doctor if you notice anything out of the ordinary.

Who’s looking?

Everyone should keep an eye out for skin changes. Fair-skinned people are at higher risk of skin cancer — but anyone can get it.

Let your doctor know if you have any of these risk factors:

  • A large number of moles — or large, flat moles with irregular shapes
  • Past sunburns, especially in childhood
  • A personal or family history of skin cancer
  • Prior artificial sunlight use, such as tanning beds


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What to do next

Learn how to recognize the signs of melanoma — the deadliest kind of skin cancer — at uhc.com/skin-cancer.


4 ways to help lower your risk

One of the best ways to help protect against skin cancer is to limit sun exposure. When venturing outdoors, you should:

  1. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. Many experts recommend an SPF of 30 or higher. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the label.
  2. Wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from both UVA and UVB rays.
  3. Cover up with long sleeves and pants — and choose a hat with a wide brim.
  4. Seek shade on sunny days, especially when the sun is most intense — usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be nor should be construed as medical or other advice. Talk to an appropriate health care professional to determine what may be right for you.

Last reviewed November 2016

© 2017 United HealthCare Services, Inc.

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