Asthma is a long-term disease and there isn’t yet a cure. Asthma is treated with two types of medicines as needed: long-term control and quick-relief medicines. According to the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, long-term control medicines help reduce airway inflammation and prevent asthma symptoms. Quick-relief, or “rescue,” medicines relieve asthma symptoms when they flare up.
An adult or child’s initial asthma treatment will depend on how severe the disease is. Followup asthma treatment will depend on how well an asthma action plan is working to control symptoms and prevent asthma attacks.
The goal of asthma treatment is to control the disease and prevent asthma attacks. Good asthma control will:
- Prevent chronic and troublesome symptoms, such as coughing and shortness of breath
- Reduce the need for quick-relief medicines
- Help maintain good lung function
- Let people with asthma maintain normal activity levels and sleep through the night
- Prevent asthma attacks that could result in going to the emergency room or being admitted to the hospital for treatment
If you have asthma, take it seriously and visit with your doctor on a regular basis. Ask for an asthma action plan and use it for taking medicines properly. Avoid factors that worsen asthma, tracking your asthma control, responding to worsening asthma, and seeking emergency care when needed.
The Vermont Asthma Action Plan is a form that serves as your written asthma management plan in a simple and user-friendly format. The plan includes:
- what medicines to take to stay healthy
- list of asthma triggers to avoid
- how to recognize and treat asthma episodes, and when to seek help
How to get the Asthma Action Plan Form
- Ask your doctor or your child's doctor. Your doctor can help explain the Asthma Action Plan and answer any questions you may have. If the plan is for your child, be sure that you and your doctor both sign it, and send the second page to your child's school nurse. Keep the plan where you can find it quickly in an emergency.
- OR -
- Print the plan
- OR -
- Order a copy from your Local Health Office
Important Tips for using an Asthma Action Plan To Stay Healthy:
Make sure the asthma action plan is up to date. Review it at least yearly, and more often if a medical provider changes the asthma management plan or medications.
- Discuss each part of the plan with your medical provider. Ask questions if you do not understand what actions to take.
- Keep your asthma action plan with you at all times.
- For adults: Keep a copy at home, in your purse or wallet, in your car, and other places (such as at work).
- For children: Make sure the school nurse, child care provider, sports coach, babysitters, and others have copies.
- Take steps to avoid asthma triggers.
The Action Plan form was created by the Vermont Asthma Advisory Panel to help improve asthma care through the use of written asthma management plans. When a child is involved, the plan provides a tool to improve asthma management, and aid communication between health care providers and the child's school nurse.
The actual Vermont Asthma Action Plan document is a triplicate form with the green, yellow and red zones printed on each page. The physician and parent signatures at the bottom of the page authorize the school nurse or child care provider to exchange information and oversee or administer asthma medications.
- The first page is for the health care provider to keep.
- The second page should be sent to the school nurse or early child care provider, if a child is involved.
- The third page is for the patient or parent.
The back of the third page addresses trigger control and medication tips as well as resource contacts. It is designed to aid patient education. A peak flow chart is also provided for those people for whom peak flow readings are recommended. The form can be used to manage asthma using either symptoms or peak flow readings.
The Vermont Asthma Action Plan was updated in Summer of 2016.
Asthma is often a lifelong disease. While for some people the symptoms go away as you age. For others, symptoms continue well past age 65. Asthma in older adults can cause serious health problems if not treated properly.
If you are an older adult, or if you are the caregiver for an older person, this information will help you better understand asthma and how it should be managed. Keep in mind that this information is not meant to take the place of medical advice from your own physician.
Nonprofit health organizations offer a number of resources as a one-stop, family-to-family support network.
American Lung Association
- Asthma in Children
- A Guide for Teens and Adults With Asthma
- A Guide for Parents of Children With Asthma
Collaborative effort of the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program coordinated by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Provides asthma guidelines for home, school, work, health care settings, and the community.
Kids With Asthma Can!
This award winning PBS site details the exploits of Arthur and Friends. It has games, books, videos, coloring pages, asthma tips and a host of other activities from Buster Baxter: Lung Defender.
Sponsored by the Asthma Society of Canada, includes the "Everything about Asthma case file" games, stories from kids who have asthma, CD-ROMS and travels of the Asthma Agent who helps Dr. Eugene Airway explores the insides of people with asthma.