What is an asthma action plan?
An asthma action plan is a written plan that tells you what asthma medicine to take every day and how to treat an asthma attack. It can help you make quick decisions in case you are not able to think clearly during an attack.
Why is an asthma action plan used?
You and your doctor will work together to create an asthma action plan. Your action plan tells you what medicine you need to take every day and what to do if you notice a change in your asthma symptoms or your peak expiratory flow (PEF), or both. This helps you make quick decisions about treatment so that you can avoid more serious attacks and get better.
Using an asthma action plan
Using an asthma action plan can help you stay active and have fewer asthma problems. Following your plan is a big step toward controlling your asthma so you can live the life you want.
- Take the daily medicines as described in your action plan.
- This can keep asthma under control and help you avoid asthma attacks. It may also help limit long-term lung damage.
- Watch for patterns in your symptoms.
- If your doctor recommends it, check your peak expiratory flow as often as your doctor tells you to. For many people this is twice a day, morning, and evening. This is a good way to know how well your lungs are working.
- Use an asthma diary to track your peak flow readings, your symptoms, and your asthma triggers. And if you have an attack, write down what you think triggered it, the symptoms, and what medicine you took for quick relief.
- Follow your action plan when you are having symptoms.
- Check yourself for asthma symptoms to know which step to follow in your action plan. Watch for things like being short of breath, having chest tightness, coughing, and wheezing. Also notice if symptoms wake you up at night or if you get tired quickly when you exercise.
- If your peak flow decreases or you have symptoms, follow your action plan to see what asthma zone you are in. It'll tell you what to do when you are in each zone.