Asthma Action Plan

 

What is an Asthma Action Plan?

When you’re diagnosed with asthma, you and your healthcare team will draw up your written personal plan of treatment, called an Asthma Action Plan. If you don’t have one, make an appointment with your healthcare team to develop one as soon as possible.

An Asthma Action Plan should spell out:

  • How to treat your asthma daily
  • What to do when symptoms get worse
  • What to do when you exercise or get sick

Your Asthma Action Plan will change as your asthma improves or worsens. Review the plan with your healthcare provider at every appointment, including follow-up visits when your asthma is under control.

Understanding Asthma magazine mockup with Asthma Action Plan form on the open page

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Tips for Using Your Asthma Action Plan Infographic trascript in link below

Adapted from “Your Asthma Action Plan” from Asthma UK.  ©2019
See Infographic Transcript

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Understanding Your Asthma Action Plan

As you are developing your plan with your healthcare team, go over every detail until you feel comfortable with it. Ask questions. Talk about your concerns. Be sure you understand the following information:

➤ What medicinesyou should take, especially:

    • What each is called
    • Why you need it
    • How much to take
    • When to take it
    • How to use the inhaler or nebulizer device
    • How soon to expect results
    • Potential side effects

➤ What allergens and irritants set off your asthma symptoms and how to reduce or eliminate contact with them; how to handle colds and exercise

➤ How to monitor your asthma by tracking symptoms or peak flow readings

➤ How to recognize and handle worsening asthma, including:

    • What signs to watch for
    • How to adjust medicines in response
    • When to seek emergency care from your doctor or the emergency room (ER)
    • What numbers to call in an emergency

 

Person filling out a digital form on a mobile phone

Who may benefit from an Asthma Action Plan?

All people with asthma benefit from having an Asthma Action Plan. The personalized document takes into account that each person’s asthma is unique and responds to treatments differently.

An Asthma Action Plan is your best tool to protect yourself and/or your children from an asthma attack. Studies show children with an Asthma Action Plan are less likely to have an asthma attack in the past 12 months.

However, many people with asthma do not have an Asthma Action Plan. This is a particular problem in underserved communities. Many Black and Hispanic/Latino American children are less likely to have an Asthma Action Plan than White children.

In addition, Hispanic children hospitalized due to an asthma attack are less likely to receive an Asthma Action Plan at discharge than White or Black children possibly due to language or socioeconomic barriers.

What do I do if I don’t have an Asthma Action Plan?

If you don’t have an Asthma Action Plan, make an appointment with your doctor to ask for one as soon as possible. If you do have one and you’re experiencing symptoms, make an appointment to review your plan and make adjustments if needed.

As you are developing your plan, go over every detail with your doctor until you feel comfortable with it. Ask questions. Review it at every appointment. Talk about what’s working and what could be improved. Your Asthma Action Plan is a living document that changes as your disease improves or worsens. Sometimes it can change with the season, depending on if you have allergic asthma.

If you are more comfortable communicating in a language other than English, ask your doctor or health professional for an Asthma Action Plan in your preferred language (if available). This can help you understand the plan better. It can also improve how well you follow the plan.

Montage of various Asthma Action Plan thumbnails linked below

Sample Asthma Action Plans

Asthma Action Plans are typically divided into three color-coded zones:

  • Green for when you’re feeling well, with no symptoms
  • Yellow for when you are experiencing manageable symptoms
  • Red for when you need immediate assistance from the doctor or hospital

 

Resources from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

SAMPRO Pediatric Asthma Action Plan for Schools

The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology offers School Asthma Management Program (SAMPRO) Asthma Action plans in English and Spanish. The SAMPRO Asthma Action Plans PDF forms are printable.

Low Literacy Asthma Action Plans

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center offers the Uniformed Services low literacy printable Asthma Action Plan as an online fillable form.

Adult Asthma Action Plan

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) free printable Asthma Action Plans for adults.

Multiple Language Asthma Action Plans

The University of Michigan offers a library of Asthma Action Plans in many languages.

Asthma Action Plan in various languages showing on various sized computer screens.

Asthma Action Plans for ages 0-adult are available in the following languages: English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish.

SMART Therapy Asthma Action Plan

SMART stands for “single maintenance and reliever therapy.” The SMART Therapy Action Plan is for those who use a single inhaler containing the combination albuterol for quick-relief of asthma symptoms and an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) and long-acting bronchodilator (LABA) for daily maintenance of symptoms.

Desktop computer, table, and smart phone mocks up showing the Learning Pathways intro page on the screen.

Quick 3-5 minute videos on asthma, allergies, and related conditions.

How do I monitor my daily asthma symptoms?

National asthma guidelines suggest using a daily symptom diary. This could be Allergy & Asthma Network’s AsthmaTracker™. It helps you keep track of symptoms, peak expiratory flow rates, and medications used.

What is an AsthmaTracker?

The AsthmaTracker™ can help you track how well your symptoms respond to your treatment plan. You write down your symptoms, peak expiratory flow rate and medication use each day. This will help you notice a pattern to your symptoms. With this you can develop strategies to stop the symptoms before they can stop you.

What is a peak flow meter?

A peak flow meter is a handheld device that measures the peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR). This is how much air you can forcibly push out of your lungs at a particular time.

Asthma Storylines – an app for managing asthma

The free Asthma Storylines app is a self-care tool for managing asthma. Track symptoms, learn more about daily patterns and record topics to discuss with your healthcare team.

Doctor with clipboard in one hand, and a mobile phone in the other, holds up the Asthma Storyline app on his phone to present the app.

Would you like help managing your asthma?

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Free Telehealth Asthma Coaching Program

Get free help to learn about your asthma and how to better manage it through Allergy & Asthma Network’s telehealth program. Connect with a professional asthma coach as part of a 6-week program using your phone, tablet or computer to help you manage your asthma and complete surveys to track your progress.

The telehealth program is for U.S. residents living with asthma. Are you eligible? Find out by taking our brief survey.

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Free lung screenings, COVID-19 testing and vaccines and patient education

Connect with us at one of our Not One More Life Trusted Messengers events designed to improve access to care for underserved communities. The program partners with churches and goes into communities to offer free health checks that include lung health screenings for asthma and COPD, COVID-19 testing and vaccines, and patient education.

Are there other conditions that may look like asthma or complicate asthma?

There are other types of respiratory conditions that are different than asthma.  The symptoms, diagnosis and treatment can vary depending upon the condition. Here are some of them.