Make sure caregivers know how to use the action plan
Once you and your child's doctor have developed an asthma action plan, keep it close at hand. Make sure your child and everyone who cares for him or her — including grandparents and baby sitters — know where to find it and what to do in case of worsening asthma symptoms. Give a copy of the plan to the school nurse and your child's teachers and coaches. Keep another copy in your wallet or purse, in case an asthma attack occurs away from home. As your child gets older, he or she can take more responsibility for using the plan to track and manage asthma.
Meet regularly with your child's doctor
Work with the doctor to adjust your child's asthma action plan on a regular basis. Asthma changes with age, so your child's treatment plan will need to change too.
- Make sure your child goes to every scheduled appointment. Review your child's asthma action plan at every doctor visit. Tell the doctor about any problems your child is having sticking with the plan. These checkups are also a good time to double check that you're tracking symptoms accurately and that your child is using asthma medications properly.
- If asthma isn't under control, see the doctor. If your child is following the action plan but symptoms still aren't under control, a treatment change may be needed. On the other hand, if your child's asthma is well controlled all of the time, the doctor may be able to reduce the amount of medication your child takes.
- Call the doctor if you have concerns. If you have any questions or you're simply concerned about your child's signs and symptoms, call your child's doctor or schedule an appointment.
Having asthma shouldn't mean that your child will miss school, be short of breath during sports or play, or wake up coughing at night. By carefully following a written plan, you and your child can keep asthma well controlled and minimize the disruptions it causes.
Feb. 01, 2014
- Expert panel report 3 (EPR3): Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Bethesda, Md.: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/. Accessed June 23, 2013.
- Asthma action plan. American Lung Association. http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/asthma/living-with-asthma/take-control-of-your-asthma/asthma-action-plan.html. Accessed June 23, 2013.
- Bailey W, et al. What do patients need to know about their asthma? http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 23, 2013.