What Is An Asthma Action Plan And When Do I Need One?

Question: What is an asthma action plan and when do I need one?

Answer: A written asthma action plan is a written plan worked out with the patient and the doctor that defines what a patient should do if there is an impending asthma attack. It's usually quite detailed and includes the telephone numbers of the physicians and the physicians' offices as well as instructions of what the patient should take if they develop increased symptoms. The plan usually includes increasing inhaler use, using short-acting bronchodilators; some action plans recommend that the patient store corticosteroid treatment on their own. For more severe attacks there are instructions as to when to go to the emergency room, when to go to the hospital, and when to call 911. We think that most patients with asthma benefit from a written asthma action plan. Patients with more severe asthma really should have one.

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