Work with your doctor to create a written asthma action plan. Your action plan should include clear, up-to-date information on:
- Your asthma triggers, and specific ways to prevent exposure to them
- Steps to take if you have asthma symptoms or an asthma attack, including when to (1) call the doctor and (2) seek emergency care
- The names and dosages of all your medications, the schedule and method(s) for taking them and guidelines for when and how to increase the dosage or add medication as needed
- Guidelines for exercising and/or participating in sports
- A schedule for using your peak flow meter to measure how well you can breathe
- Your personal best peak flow meter reading (to compare with daily readings)
- Guidelines for when to call your doctor about a peak flow reading
Your asthma action plan should also include emergency phone numbers and facility locations. Always keep a copy on you and have a copy in a prominent location in your home or office and another with a family member or friend who can help you in an emergency.
Use your action plan every day to keep track of your symptoms and triggers. Update it each time you see the doctor, or at least every six months.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor right away if:
- Your symptoms are occurring more often or are more severe.
- Your medications are not relieving an asthma attack.
- You are using a quick-relief/rescue inhaler more than two days per week.
- Your peak flow meter reading is less than half of your personal best.
Call 911 or go to the hospital if:
- You are so breathless you have difficulty walking or talking.
- Your lips or fingernails turn blue.
- American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology, http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/asthma
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, What Is Asthma? https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asthma
- American Lung Association, Asthma, http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/?referrer=https://www.google.com/