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Do you keep a “trigger” diary?

Just wondering how folks who are new to managing their asthma keep up with what triggers their asthma. 

Do you write it down? Do you keep it in your head? 

My DD has a bleeding disorder, and I started keeping a log of her bleeds, and what she was doing in the time before the bleed started. That's one way we found a pattern to her bleeds.

I know my asthma is a lot like that. You think you'll remember that thing that makes you feel like your lungs got snatched out of you and stomped on, but I always have to stop and think when my doctor asks me what makes my asthma worse.

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  • Mandy

    I have been tracking my activities, triggers, and responses for over a year in my journal. It has really helped provide concrete evidence for myself, my husband, and my Respirologist. I've often thought I'd just remember but after 2 babies and the chronic illness brain fog, the journal has been crucial to my treatment. Especially at the beginning of all my issues when I wasn't sure what was happening. It helped to validate that everything wasn't "in my head" and that I wasn't "attention seeking". It's important to consider the atypical triggers like food/drinks. The emotional aspect of this disease is something that can contribute immensely to exacerbations and rest levels as well. Hope that this helps.

  • Kathy P

    That's great that journal has been so helpful. Has it allowed you to find patterns and identify triggers? I've done many food journals looking for allergens but have not tracked for asthma. What type of things do you find helpful to record?

  • Mandy

    Yes it has definitely helped. I track how my lungs feel in the am before I take my meds, peak flow, mood, energy, activity. Then I go back at the end of the day and repeat. Triggers and patterns become clear to see even after a week of doing it.

  • K8sMom2002

    Thanks, Mandy! I'm like you — patterns become clear in a very short time for me. But if I don't document as I go, it didn't happen — at least as far as MY memory is concerned! 

    I'd like to design a journal template for folks. Maybe after I have a chance to play around with it, you'd take a look and see what I might have missed? And then we can forward it to KFA's medical advisory team for their input.

  • Mandy

    I'm like that too lol or I draw a complete blank when my Respirologist or other healthcare provider asks. 

    I'd definitely take a look at the template. It's  a great idea!

  • Anne P

    I used to have one on Excel, along with a checklist of meds for each kid.  There were so many meds at different times that I needed a checklist to make sure each kid got his/her asthma & allergy meds.

  • K8sMom2002

    Ooh, the checklist for meds would be great! I can't tell you how often I've seen people with multiple medications get confused about what they're taking and what they're not, and when they last took what. 

  • Anne P

    It was a lifesaver, back when I was responsible for giving multiple people multiple medicines multiple times per day.

    My kids give themselves their medicines, so they have a written list in case they need a refresher or something changes.  At this point, they're so in the habit that they don't really refer to the list anymore.