Self-Care for Asthma
You are an important part of your asthma treatment team. Learning how to prevent and manage your asthma symptoms are part of living with asthma. You can take charge of your day-to-day asthma care by:
- Learning which triggers can cause your asthma symptoms to flare up and avoid them.
- Using a peak flow meter to help monitor your asthma
- Using controller medicines correctly, as prescribed by your physician
- Having a written asthma action plan, which can help you to take charge and keep track of your asthma symptoms.
Asthma Action Plans
Everyone should have an Asthma Action Plan. It will help keep your or your child's asthma under control by reminding you what triggers to avoid, which medicines to take and when to take them. The Asthma Action Plan will also tell you what to do when you have a good or bad asthma day. You and your health care provider should review and update the Asthma Action Plan at each visit.
You can help your health care provider develop the Asthma Action Plan. If you or your child uses a peak flow meter, tell your health care provider the personal best peak flow reading. This reading can help identify your personal asthma zones and what medicines to take in each one. The Asthma Action Plan will also help you know who to call and when to get help in an emergency.
The Asthma Action Plan has three "zones." The colors are like a traffic light.
- GREEN means GO. Breathing is normal and there are no asthma symptoms. The peak plow reading is more than 80 percent of your personal best.
- YELLOW means CAUTION. There are some asthma symptoms (e.g. coughing, wheezing, feeling "tight", and shortness of breath) present. The peak flow reading is 50 to 80 percent of your personal best.
- RED means STOP/DANGER. Asthma symptoms are causing you to stop your normal activities. Breathing is difficult. The peak flow reading is less than 50 percent of personal best. You need to get help!
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