You can control the impact
of asthma with an asthma action plan. A good action plan reminds you to take your daily controller medicines and to be aware of your symptoms. It also tells you how to make
quick decisions about medicine and treatment when you need to.
To manage your asthma and get the most out of your asthma
action plan, know how to monitor your peak airflow, identify
asthma triggers, and take your asthma medicine correctly.
Learn about asthma, and see your doctor
- Educate yourself about asthma. Your doctor may give you a
questionnaire to help you find out what you already
know about asthma.
- See your doctor regularly to
monitor your asthma. How often you'll need checkups depends
on how well your asthma is controlled. Checkups are recommended every 1 to 6
months. Bring your asthma plan to appointments.
- Set goals that
relate to your quality of life. Being able to measure your success motivates you to follow your asthma plan consistently. Decide what you want to
be able to do. Have nights free of symptoms? Be able to exercise on a regular
basis? Feel secure in knowing you can deal with an asthma attack? Work with
your doctor to see if your goals are realistic and how to meet them.
Know your barriers and solutions. What may prevent you from
following your plan? These may be physical barriers, such as living far from
your doctor or pharmacy. Or you may have emotional barriers, such as
fears about asthma, or unrealistic expectations. Discuss your barriers
with your doctor, and work to find solutions.
Follow your asthma action plan
- Asthma: Taking Charge of Your Asthma
- Asthma: Using an Asthma Action Plan
Monitor peak expiratory flow
It's easy to
underestimate how severe your symptoms are. You may not notice symptoms
until your lungs are functioning at 50% of your personal best measurement.
peak expiratory flow (PEF) is a way to keep track of
asthma symptoms at home. Doing this can help you know when your lung function is
getting worse before it drops to a dangerously low level. You can do this with
peak flow meter .
- Asthma: Measuring Peak Flow
Know your asthma triggers
trigger is anything that can lead to an asthma attack. A trigger can be smoke, air pollution, allergens, some medicines, or even stress. Avoiding triggers will help decrease the chance of
having an asthma attack.
- Asthma: Identifying Your Triggers
In the case of allergy triggers, avoiding them will help control
inflammation in the airways. If you have asthma triggered by an allergen, taking
antihistamine medicine may help you manage the allergy. It may limit the allergy's effect on your asthma.
Take your asthma medicine
Taking medicines is an
important part of asthma treatment. But because you may need to take more than
one medicine, it can be hard to remember to take them. To help yourself
remember, understand the reasons people don't take their asthma medicines. Then find
ways to overcome those obstacles, such as taping a
note to your refrigerator.
- Asthma: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler
- Asthma: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler
Most people with asthma can travel freely.
But if you travel to remote areas and take part in intense physical
activity, such as long hikes, you may be at increased risk for an asthma attack
in an area where emergency help may be hard to find.
traveling, keep your medicine with you, carry the prescription for it,
and use it as prescribed. Also carry your asthma action plan so you know what
medicines to take every day and what to do if you have an asthma attack.
Give teens extra attention
Teens who have asthma
may view the disease as cutting into their independence and setting them apart
from their peers. Parents and other adults can offer support and
encouragement to help teens stick with a treatment program. It's important
- Help your teen remember that asthma is only
one part of life.
- Allow your teen to meet with the doctor alone.
This will encourage your teen to become involved in his or her
- Work out a daily management plan that allows a teen to
continue daily activities, especially sports. Exercise is important for
strong lungs and overall health.
- Talk to your teen
about the dangers of smoking and drug use.
- Encourage your teen to
meet others who have asthma so they can support each other.