Asthma Action Plan to help you decide what important action to take.
No symptoms. This means you're able to live a normal, functioning life with asthma. It means you can work, you can go to school, and you can do all the things you love to do during the course of a day.
Action. A typical action when you feel no symptoms is to continue to see your asthma physician on a regular schedule, and continue taking all your medicine exactly as prescribed, Feeling no symptoms means your asthma is well controlled, and this is the goal of any asthma treatment program.
Early Warning Symptoms. These are symptoms that present before you have an asthma attack, basically letting you know that one is impending. Examples include: Breathing changes, feeling tired, funny feeling in chest, stuffy nose, chin or throat itches, coughing, changes in color of sputum, unable to exercise, feeling feverish, and downward trend in peak flows.
Action. A typical action when you feel your early warning symptoms is to remove yourself from possible asthma triggers and use two puffs of your rescue inhaler. If your symptoms do not improve within 20-30 minutes, call your physician.
Acute Asthma Symptoms. These are symptoms telling you that you're having an asthma attack right now. Examples include: wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, tightness in chest, and peak flow numbers in the caution or danger range (usually 50% to 80% of your personal best).
Action. When you observe these, immediate action must be taken to end the attack, and to prevent it from becoming severe. A typical action might include removing yourself from possible triggers and using your rescue inhaler or nebulizer. If your symptoms do not improve within 20-30 minutes, call your physician.
Severe Asthma Symptoms. These are symptoms telling you that you are in respiratory distress, and your asthma attack is potentially life-threatening. Examples include: severe coughing, wheezing (or no wheezing), shortness of breath or tightness in the chest, difficulty talking or concentrating, walking causes shortness of breath, your shoulders are hunched, a gray or bluish tint appears on your fingertips or lips, or your peak flow numbers are in the danger zone (usually less than 50% of your personal best).
Action. A typical action here will include immediate use of your rescue inhaler or nebulizer and immediately seeking someone to drive you to an emergency room, or call 911.
Be Vigilant. Paying close attention to what your body is telling you now can help you learn to make better decisions tomorrow. Many physicians recommend an asthma journal (a simple notebook will do) to write down how you feel every day. Then your doctor can work with you on using the symptoms you feel to create an Asthma Action Plan to help you decide what to do when you feel symptoms.