If you have asthma, it’s important to have an Asthma Action Plan. An Asthma Action Plan helps you adjust your medicines depending on your symptoms and peak flow readings. It can also help you decide whether to call your health care professional or go to the emergency room when experiencing an attack. Work with your doctor to create a plan specific to you.
Take a copy of your Asthma Action Plan with you the next time you visit your doctor and complete it together. If your child has asthma, he or she should also have one. Be sure to give a copy of your child’s action plan to the babysitter, nursery school, school nurse and other caregivers.
What is Your Peak Flow Rate?
If your asthma is moderate to severe, it’s a good idea to use a peak flow meter to track your asthma. The meter measures how well air moves out of your lungs. Knowing your rate can help you determine if your asthma is getting worse — even before you feel symptoms.
Monitor Your Asthma Symptoms
Keep a diary to track and monitor your symptoms and control your asthma. It can be an important tool to share with your doctor to determine if your asthma is staying the same or getting worse.
Below are four categories you should monitor to help you understand when your symptoms occur:
- Daytime Symptoms: How often do you have asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath during the day?
- Nighttime Symptoms: Do you wake up at night with asthma symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath?
- Rescue Inhaler Use: How often do you use your rescue inhaler to relieve asthma symptoms?
- Activity Level: Do you have difficulty performing normal activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, daily chores or playing with your pets or children?
Know When to Take Your Medicine
Your Asthma Action Plan will include instructions for taking your medicines when:
- You are feeling well
- You have asthma symptoms
- Your asthma symptoms get worse
The Asthma Action Plan should include the names of your medicines, instructions about when to take your rescue or controller medicine and dosage information. The dose and frequency may change depending on your current asthma zone as defined in your Asthma Action Plan. It’s important to take your medicines exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
To learn more about asthma, visit the following websites:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Asthma
- National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
- American Lung Association
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