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Blue Choice

South Carolina Healthy Connections

Asthma

BlueChoice HealthPlan Medicaid has a care management program for asthma. This program will help you better understand and manage your asthma. We can assist you to set health goals and create a care plan that fits your lifestyle. You do not have to join the program. We enroll you as a member of BlueChoice HealthPlan Medicaid. 

Living with Asthma

Asthma is a disease of the branches of the windpipe (bronchial tubes) that carry air in and out of the lungs. When you have an asthma attack, your airways become narrow and can fill up with fluid. The muscles around them tighten. This makes it hard for you to breathe. We want you to know you can take control of asthma.
 
Simple steps like these can make a real difference:

  • Avoiding your triggers  
  • Using asthma controller medication 

We will keep your doctor informed of your condition and the services we provide you. Your case manager can help you learn how to better manage your asthma.

  • Things to Know:
    • Triggers are things around you every day that can make your asthma worse. Your triggers may include dust, pollen, tobacco smoke and other things at home, work or school. You can improve your asthma if you know your triggers and stay away from them as much as you can.
    • The flu or a cold can make your asthma symptoms worse. Other health conditions can make it harder for you to control your asthma as well.
    • Signs that your asthma is getting worse include coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and a tight feeling in your chest. You may have other signs.  
    • We can give you more information to help you manage your asthma.
    • Your doctor may want to do testing to see how well your asthma is controlled.
  • Tips to Monitor Your Asthma:
    • Use a Peak Flow Meter
      We can teach you how to use a peak flow meter. A peak flow meter is a device that measures how much air you can push out of your lungs when you blow as hard as you can. You can use your peak flow rate to see if you are having a good or bad asthma day. A lower than normal peak flow rate is an early sign that your asthma is getting worse.
    • Use an Asthma Action Plan
      An asthma action plan is written information from your doctor that tells you how to manage your asthma. It has things for you to do every day to treat your asthma. It also tells you what to do if you are sick or your asthma is worse. It may tell you to start taking some medicines if your peak flow rate is below a certain number. Your asthma action plan will help you know when to call your doctor and when to get help right away.
  • How to Take Your Asthma Medications:
    • What kind of asthma medicines are you taking?
      • Quick relief medicines — these can help you if you have an asthma attack or a sudden problem breathing. This kind of medicine usually does not last very long. It does not prevent you from having an asthma attack.
      • Long-term (maintenance) medicines — this medicine does not work right away and is used to help prevent asthma attacks. It will not help you to breathe right away if you are having an asthma attack.
      • It is very important to take your medicines just like your doctor tells you, even if you are feeling better.
    • We can help you know how to take your medications the right way.
    • We can help you to use inhalers, spacers, nebulizers and other devices that help you get the most out of your medicine doses.
    • We can help you understand how your medications work.
  • Ways You Can Improve or Manage Your Asthma:
    • Quit smoking. Quitting smoking can make the biggest improvement in controlling your asthma. We have programs and there are medications that can assist you in stopping smoking. 
    • Make short- and long-term goals. We can help you make goals to eat better, exercise and maintain a healthy weight. You can make goals to fit your lifestyle. We can assist you to make healthy changes one small step at a time to improve your asthma. 
    • Get a flu shot every year. Ask your doctor if you should also have the pneumonia vaccine.
  • Support to Help You Manage Your Asthma:
    • We can help you talk to your family or caregiver about your asthma.
    • We can assist you in finding community programs and resources in your area.
    • Tips to talk with your doctor and get the most out of your visit:
      • Ask any questions you may have about your asthma. You can write them down and take them with you to your visit.
      • Follow your doctor’s advice – if you have questions or concerns, let your doctor know.
      • Make sure your doctor knows what medicines you are taking.
  • Important Screenings:
    • Depression
    • Other health conditions
    • Preventive care screenings, such as wellness checkups, mammograms and Pap tests
  • For More Helpful Information on Managing Your Asthma:

Sources:

American Lung Association
www.lungusa.org/

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
So You Have Asthma:  A Guide for Patients and Their Families
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/asthma/have_asthma.htm, accessed November 8, 2013.
 
Healthfinder.gov
Use Medicines Safely
http://www.healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/everyday-healthy-living/safety/use-medicines-safely, accessed November 8, 2013.
 
These are independent organizations that provide health information on behalf of BlueChoice HealthPlan. These links lead to independent sites. These companies are solely responsible for the contents and privacy policies on their sites.

To report waste, abuse or fraud, contact the South Carolina Medicaid Fraud Hotline at 1-888-364-3224 or email at fraudres@scdhhs.gov.

For more information, please call BlueChoice HealthPlan Medicaid Customer Care Center at     1-866-781-5094 (TTY 1-866-773-9634).