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Medication & Monitoring

What’s an Asthma Action Plan?

What Happens During an Asthma Flare-Up?

Having a plan makes almost anything easier, even asthma. An asthma action plan is a set of instructions your doctor will write down for you and your family. It will tell you how to prevent asthma flare-ups and deal with flare-ups when they happen. Your doctor might give you a plan, or you can print out a sample plan and ask him or her to complete it with you.

An asthma action plan helps you keep your asthma under control. And when your asthma is controlled, breathing problems won’t keep you from playing sports, having fun, and doing whatever you want to do. Following your plan can also mean fewer trips to your doctor or to the emergency department.

What’s in the Plan?

Asthma Action Plan

A key part of the plan will tell you exactly what to do if you have a flare-up. It will say which medicine to take and how much of it to take. It also will say when someone needs to call the doctor or take you to the emergency department.

You may need your mom, dad, or another adult to help you put the plan into action. Talk with your parents about which parts of the plan you are going to handle by yourself and when you need to ask for help.

Triggers and More

A typical asthma action plan also would cover:

  • how to avoid the things that make you have flare-ups (also called triggers)
  • how to catch flare-ups early and treat them

Because each kid’s asthma is different, each kid’s plan is different. Here’s some other stuff that might also be in your plan:

  • steps you should take before exercising
  • how to use your peak flow meter if your doctor wants you to use one
  • the names of your medicines and how to take them
  • your doctor’s phone number and other important numbers

Understand Your Plan

Talk with your doctor about your plan and ask questions if something doesn’t make sense. Some instructions in the plan will apply every day, not just when you’re having breathing problems. For example, you’ll want to stay away from stuff that makes your asthma worse and take long-term control medicine (also called controller or maintenance medicine) regularly, if your doctor has prescribed it for you.

Your mom or dad may give a copy of the action plan to your school nurse, your teacher, and anyone else who takes care of you. You should probably keep a copy of it with you, too. Following this plan will help keep you in action!

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014