CHERYL: I've been dealing with asthma my whole life. I was born with asthma.
ANNOUNCER: For people like Cheryl, managing asthma becomes a way of life. Having a plan can help them feel in control.
BETH E. CORN, MD, ASTHMA AND ALLERGY SPECIALIST: What we do is we give every asthmatic patient a peak flow meter so that they can monitor their breathing at home. And then, based on their peak flow readings, how they're breathing every day, we actually make up guidelines of what they should the patient should do if they're having certain symptoms, if their peak flows are dropping.
ANNOUNCER: People with mild asthma may only need medication to stop the occasional attack.
BETH E. CORN, MD, ASTHMA AND ALLERGY SPECIALIST: They might just do fine on taking a bronchodilator, a rescue medication every once in a while. But, if that every once in a while becomes a couple of times a week where you're reaching for your bronchodilator rescue medication, then you need maintenance treatment, prevention medication. That's when anti-inflammatory like inhaled corticosteroids are used on a daily basis.
ANNOUNCER: Steering clear of asthma triggers can also help prevent attacks.
BETH E. CORN, MD, ASTHMA AND ALLERGY SPECIALIST: The non-medical interventions for asthma are basically controlling your environment. So, if you know that you're allergic to a cat and a cat sets off your asthma, it's not so wise to be living with a cat.
ANNOUNCER: But experts say it's a myth that people with asthma should avoid exercise.
BETH E. CORN, MD, ASTHMA AND ALLERGY SPECIALIST: We encourage asthmatics to exercise. Exercise is very important in general. And one modification that people will do before exercise if they need to do is that they'll take a bronchodilator, meaning two puffs of an inhaler before they go out to run or swim.
ANNOUNCER: There are even treatments that control asthma by targeting allergies that can bring on attacks. By working closely with their doctors, patients can find the best way to breathe easier.
BETH E. CORN, MD, ASTHMA AND ALLERGY SPECIALIST: With the right action plans, no one should ever really be in a position to have to go to an emergency room. If a patient and physician are working together and they have an action plan, any time the patient feels that something's going wrong, they actually know what to do.
ANNOUNCER: Thanks for joining us on today's Once Daily.