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The Asthma Action Plan

Friday, March 16, 2012 - 17:08

An asthma action plan is a written plan developed by your doctor to help in the management of asthma episodes. It is a customized plan that tells you what to do based on changes in your symptoms and peak flow numbers. It is also called a crisis intervention plan, asthma self-management instructions, or written guidelines for asthma.

Asthma action plans can be organized in any number of ways, but the important thing is that your individualized action plan gives you and your family information that can be invaluable in an asthma emergency. Action plans may include:

  • A list of the triggers responsible for your asthma and how to avoid them.
  • A list of peak flow meter readings and zones based on your personal best.
  • A list of routine symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, and excess mucus production, and what you should do if these symptoms occur.
  • What you should do if nighttime asthma symptoms awaken you.
  • A list of more serious asthma symptoms such as decreased effectiveness of your reliever medicine and breathlessness, and what you should do if these symptoms occur.
  • The name and dose of the preventer medication that needs to be taken, even when there are no symptoms, and the name and dose of the reliever medication that needs to be taken when you are having an asthma attack.
  • Emergency telephone numbers and locations of emergency care.
  • Instructions about when to contact your doctor, whom to call if your doctor is unavailable, and a list of where to get emergency treatment.
  • Information about asthma organizations and support groups.

Keep your action plan handy and keep it current. Action plans should be reviewed with your doctor at least once a year. Changes in the plan may be needed because of changes in your peak flow numbers or the medications you are taking.

Need To Know:

If you work closely with your health team and learn to manage asthma, you can expect to have a trouble free and fully active life, and you will have achieved the goals of asthma treatment which include:

  • Prevention of chronic and troublesome symptoms such as coughing and breathlessness at night;
  • Maintenance of normal activity levels, including exercise and other physical activity;
  • Prevention of recurring asthma episodes and the need for emergency department visits.


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