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8 Essential Items for Your Asthma Action Plan

When was the last time you looked at your asthma action plan?  For many of us, asthma management becomes routine and we don’t take the time to refer to the formal plan we’ve established with our doctors.  But it’s important to update this information regularly and to ensure that we are following it accurately.

A comprehensive asthma action plan is also important because this document should be made available to important people in our lives, whether those are family members and human resource contacts or our children’s teachers, coaches and babysitters.  These people need to have thorough and up-to-date information so they can help when necessary.

Here are 8 pieces of information you may take for granted but that are essential to have on your asthma action plan.

1.  Emergency contact.  The most appropriate person to contact in case of an emergency may change, either on a temporary or longer-term basis.  So might their phone number, so be sure this information is current.

2.  Allergy-specialist contact.  It is important for a bystander to be able to easily contact your doctor if they have questions or are unsure how to help.  This information may also be useful for emergency responders.

3.  Triggers.  Experience has taught us what triggers our asthma symptoms but this may not be apparent to people around us.  Revisit this information often as you continue to monitor your symptoms.

4.  Symptoms.  We know how an asthma episode feels but other people may not know what one looks like.  Your asthma action plan should include key indicators that make it easy to differentiate normal, worsening and emergency situations.

5.  Daily medications.  Many people associate an asthma action plan with emergencies but it is also important for it to state your regular treatment routine.  This helps ensure that you are following an effective and consistent plan for managing your asthma.

6.  Dosage and frequency.  Your asthma action plan should list not only the name of your medications but also how much to take, how often and over what period before reevaluating the situation.

7.  Peak flow numbers.  A peak flow meter is the most objective and accurate way to measure asthma symptoms.  Your plan should include your personal best as well as the measurements for normal (80-100%), warning (50-79%) and emergency (less than 50%) percentages of this number.

8.  Exercise information.  If your asthma is exercise-induced, it is important to have a specific plan to address these needs before you undertake physical activity.  Be sure your action plan contains this information.