If you have asthma, it’s important to have a plan in place for a range of situations and symptoms. In fact, one of the single most important steps that you can take to successfully take control and manage your condition is to create an asthma action plan with your allergist.
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What Is An Asthma Action Plan?
This plan will provide guidance on how to treat and manage your asthma – when you’re breathing normally, when symptoms are starting and when you’re having an asthma attack. Individual asthma action plans vary, but your plan should include specific steps on how to manage your condition and care for yourself during the following phases:
- When you’re feeling OK: With a chronic condition, it’s critical to stay on top of your medications even when you’re feeling fine. Your plan should lay out what types of medications you will take day to day to manage your asthma.
- When symptoms start: If you feel like your asthma is getting worse, it’s important to address it immediately. This phase of your plan should provide instructions for the specific medications you should take when you start feeling symptoms – and at what dosages. For example, it might indicate that you should take two puffs from your rescue inhaler every 20 minutes for an hour.
- When you suffer an attack: Stay calm. When you’re having an asthma attack, that’s one of the most important things you can do. Having a plan in place will help you remain calm. This phase should lay out what medications you will take when you have an attack and when to seek medical attention if your symptoms aren’t improving.
The best way to manage your asthma is to work with your allergist to establish the specific steps you will take during each phase.
You can download an example of an asthma action plan from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Then work with your allergist to create an action plan for yourself. If it is your child who has asthma, share a copy of the asthma action plan with your child’s school and other adults who care for your child.