Make a Plan to Manage Your Asthma

Make a Plan to Manage Your Asthma

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If you have asthma, you can help yourself by actively managing your condition. Work with your doctor to create a care plan called an asthma action plan. leaving site icon And make sure you’re doing all you can to manage your condition.

If you have medicines, take them correctly. It’s critical to take the right medications at the right time and get refills as needed. Know which meds are given for acute episodes and which ones you need to take regularly. Talk to your doctor if you’re having to use an inhaler more often than recommended. Overuse of inhalers may indicate that your asthma is not well controlled, and it can cause health problems.

If you have an inhaler, use it correctly. The American Lung Association offers tips and videos leaving site icon  for correct use and maintenance of different types of equipment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers step-by-step videos leaving site icon  and fact sheets on how to correctly use a metered dose inhaler, both with a spacer leaving site icon  and without a spacer. leaving site icon  You can also ask your health care provider to check your technique.

Track your health. Keep track of:

  • What triggers your symptoms
  • When you take your medicine and when you use your inhaler
  • Peak flow, or how fast you can breathe out, measured with a peak flow meter
  • Forced expiratory volume, or how much air you can breathe out during a forced breath
  • Your medication dose and how well it’s working
  • How well your asthma is under control

This information helps your doctor and pharmacist help you.

What to watch for. Talk with your doctor when:

  • Your symptoms get worse or happen more often
  • Your asthma wakes you up
  • Your peak flow numbers are lower or change a lot
  • Your medicines don’t seem to be working as well as they used to
  • There are signs of chronic cough and airway inflammation
Learn More About Managing Asthma

Visit our Asthma section for more articles about asthma.

Sources: Asthma, leaving site icon  American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI); Asthma Action Plan, leaving site icon  AAAAI; Know How to Use Your Asthma Inhaler, leaving site icon  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018; Asthma Patient Resources and Videos, leaving site icon  American Lung Association, 2020; Asthma, leaving site icon  National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2020; Asthma medications: Know your options, leaving site icon  Mayo Clinic, 2020

Originally published 9/4/2020; Reviewed 2021

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