An Asthma Action Plan is a written, customized plan to help you manage asthma episodes. Your child’s action plan is based on changes in asthma symptoms and peak flow numbers.
It will give you information about when and how to use long-term control medications and quick-relief medications. If you know what to watch for and what steps to take, you will be able to make timely and appropriate decisions about managing your child’s asthma.
It will also help you decide when to call your doctor and when to seek emergency medical care. It is very important to understand that you should seek medical attention (doctor’s office or emergency room) when your child is not responding to treatment at home. Your child’s care in the doctor’s office or emergency room may seem similar to what you were doing at home. The difference is that the child is receiving close medical supervision. Oxygen by nasal tubing or mask may be needed. There may be repeated nebulizer treatments and simple breathing tests (spirometry or peak flows) to check response to the treatments. If breathing tests are not significantly improved, medical personnel may start an intravenous solution of medications. Steroid therapy is necessary in these episodes. Hospitalization (overnight or longer) may be required for some episodes.
A severe episode of asthma that requires such intensive treatment does not clear up right away. Your child will likely need to continue extra medications for a period of time. It is very important that your child take medications on schedule and use the peak flow meter as instructed by your doctor.
View an example Asthma Action Plan (pdf).
The specific asthma action plans for kids include: