There’s no escaping the fact that managing asthma can be expensive. We can’t offer you free puffers or discount vouchers, but hopefully these tips can help you cut your asthma costs.
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.
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.
Nip flare-ups in the bud by following your asthma action plan. If you don't have an up-to-date plan, ask your doctor.
2. Have an asthma review
Ask your doctor to review your asthma and your medication. If your asthma 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 your 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 ten 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 percent 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 the over 65’s 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 (kinda gross, but effective).
9. Eat right
Don’t pay extra for dairy-free or gluten-free foods if you don’t have a diagnosed allergy or intolerance. There’s no evidence that avoiding dairy foods or taking supplements will improve asthma.
If you are overweight, losing 5 or 10 kilos can really improve your asthma, meaning fewer symptoms and less medication.
10. Try again to stop smoking
We all know smoking makes asthma worse but less known is that smoking reduces the effectiveness of asthma inhalers. On top of rising cigarette prices, you could be paying for extra medication that doesn’t work as well.