Asthma can be a frightening diagnosis to receive, and its symptoms are even more frightening to experience. If you or a loved one has asthma, staying protected is crucial, as triggers can set off an asthma attack at any time.
While it is important to keep medicines close by at all times, it’s also essential to keep an asthma action plan readily available.
What Is an Asthma Action Plan?
Asthma action plans are individualized, detailed plans in writing that explain what actions to take in the event of an asthma attack. The information on the sheet should inform readers of the necessary steps to prevent the attack from progressing. It should also notify readers of troubling signs and actions to take if the asthma attack escalates to emergency levels.
Who Are Asthma Action Plans For?
An asthma action plan is a valuable tool for any asthma patient to have on hand, but they are especially significant for pediatric patients. Your child with asthma may struggle to recognize critical signs of an attack or may panic during an attack and not know the proper steps to take. Equipping yourself or your child’s caregivers with an action plan will increase the likelihood of informed decision-making should an asthma attack strike.
If your child has asthma, be sure to provide an action plan to adults who care for your child, including:
- Club leaders
- Daycare providers
- Extracurricular activity coordinators
- School nurses
- Sports coaches
What Do I Put in an Asthma Action Plan?
There are several key factors to include in a patient’s action plan, including:
No two asthma patients are alike. While one person may risk attacks during pollen season, another may trigger an attack when their acid reflux flares up. It’s crucial to specify the triggers that affect the patient.
Asthma triggers can include:
- Acid reflux
- Certain medications
- Cleaning agents
- Foods and food additives
- High or low humidity
- Mold spores
- Pet dander
If you know the signs that indicate the patient’s asthma is beginning, progressing, or reaching emergency levels, list them out. Common signs include:
- Shallow breathing
- Excessive coughing
- Tightness in the lungs or chest
- Drops in peak flow meter readings
Be sure to break the symptoms into three stages (beginning, worsening, or severe).
The plan should include whatever the patient takes to help alleviate their asthma. This usually includes quick-relief and long-term control medications. Write out the specific medication name(s).
Provide names and phone numbers for the patient’s:
- Emergency contact
- Healthcare provider
- Local hospital