Patient Blog
Published: September 08, 2021

Trigger Tracking: Why it matters and how to track with Propeller

Most people’s breathing is impacted by at least a few different things, which are called triggers. There may be times when you notice that you’re not breathing as well as you’d like to be. You may cough or feel out of breath. These reactions to triggers are called symptoms, and they aren’t random.

Here we’ll focus on triggers, why they matter and how we can help you figure out your triggers so you can better prepare for the day ahead.

What are triggers?

In general, triggers are things that make it harder for you to breathe. If you have asthma, your triggers may include pet dander, mold, pollen, smoke, viruses and others. If you have COPD, you might be sensitive to humidity, hot and cold air, smoke and flu viruses. Regardless of condition, triggers can lead to symptoms that may make your breathing worse. A trigger may make you cough, feel short of breath or have a tight chest. You may also experience a flare-up that requires an inhaler that’s used for quick, short-term relief, otherwise known as a rescue inhaler.

The best way to figure out your triggers is to track them over time, and that’s where we come in.

Why do triggers matter?

Once you know what impacts your breathing, you can make a plan for how to keep those triggers in check and confidently go about your day.

Think of it this way: you’re a superhero, and triggers are the villain. Once you know the villain’s weakness, they suddenly seem less scary.

Here’s an example:

Villain: pollen

Weakness: activities before pollen counts rise, usually around 10 am

Plan of Attack: arrange time outdoors to happen before 10 am, and keep a rescue inhaler on hand

For most triggers, like our allergen example above, avoidance is the best strategy. However, not all triggers, such as exercise, can or should be avoided. Regardless of what makes your breathing worse, your number one strategy is to take your medication as prescribed. And, as always, your doctor can work with you on a care plan that’s right for you and your triggers.

How to track your triggers in Propeller

Every time your breathing gets worse, track it in Propeller. You’ll want to note what made it worse, and how you felt. The more you track, the more you’ll learn about your triggers and their symptoms. We’ll also use this information to provide you with information about your breathing.

There are a few ways to add triggers and symptoms to the Propeller app. You can either add them immediately after the app records a rescue inhaler event, or later on when you have time. For those times when triggers and symptoms aren’t tied to rescue doses, there’s an option for that too.

To add a trigger to a rescue event right away:
  1. Go to the Today tab of the Propeller app.
  2. Scroll down until you find the Use Report for your rescue medication
  3. Tap “Add triggers”.
  4. Tap a trigger from the list and tap “Done” in the upper-right corner.
To add a symptom or trigger to a rescue event later:
  1. Tap the Timeline tab located in the middle of the bottom of your app screen.
  2. Tap on the rescue usage you want to edit./li>
  3. Tap “Symptoms” or “Triggers” depending on which you’re adding.
  4. Select the symptom(s) or trigger(s) from the list and tap “Done” in the upper right corner.
  5. Tap “Save” in the top right corner of the screen.
To record symptoms when you didn’t use your medication:
  1. Tap the Timeline tab located in the middle of the bottom of your app screen.
  2. On iOS, tap “Add Event” in the upper-right corner. On Android, tap the plus sign button in the bottom-right corner.
  3. At the bottom of the list of your medications, you’ll see “Symptom(s)”. Tap “Symptom(s)”.
  4. On the next screen tap “Symptoms”. Select your symptoms from the list by tapping on them (a checkmark will appear to let you know you’ve selected it).
  5. Click “Done” in the upper-right corner.
  6. Tap “Save” in the top right corner of the screen.

Propeller tip: Try out the steps above to get familiar with tracking triggers and symptoms in the app. Doing so will help you get acquainted with the app before an event happens, so you’re ready to track when it matters most.

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