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What's an Asthma Action Plan?

Having a plan makes almost anything easier, even asthma.

What's an Asthma Action Plan?

An asthma action plan is a set of instructions your doctor will give to you and your family. It will tell you how to keep your asthma under control and prevent asthma flare-ups (sometimes called asthma "attacks"). It will also tell you what to do if a flare-up happens.

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. 

What's in the Asthma Action Plan?

What Medicines to Take

Many kids with asthma need to take medicine every day, even when they feel good. This medicine helps make the airways less inflamed. It’s sometimes called controller, long-term control, or maintenance medicine. If you need it, your plan will say how much of it to take, and when.

Sometimes you need to take medicine because you are coughing more than usual or have other asthma symptoms. That’s another kind of asthma medicine. It works right away to make the symptoms go away. This is sometimes called quick-relief, fast-acting or rescue medicine.

What Makes Your Asthma Symptoms Worse

Some things — like smoke, pollen, and pet dander — can make asthma symptoms worse and cause a flare-up. These things are called triggers. Your plan will tell you what your triggers are.

Other Stuff

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

  • what to do before exercising, if that's a trigger for you
  • the names of your medicines and how to take them
  • your doctor's phone number and other important numbers
  • when someone needs to call the doctor or take you to the emergency department

What if I Need Help With My Asthma Action Plan?

You may need your mom, dad, or another adult to help you follow the plan. Talk with them about which parts of the plan you can handle by yourself and when you'll need to ask for help.

Your mom or dad may share the action plan with your school nurse, your teacher, and anyone else who takes care of you. You should probably keep a copy of it with you too, or keep an electronic copy on a phone or tablet, if possible. Following this plan will help keep you in action!

Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date Reviewed: Feb 1, 2024

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