Around 25 million people in the United States suffer from asthma. While there’s no cure for the chronic illness, there are ways you can help your child take control of her symptoms.
An asthma action plan outlines how you should be caring for your child’s asthma. Take a look at this guide to asthma action plans.
What’s an Asthma Action Plan?
Every child’s asthma is different. Your pediatrician will create a special plan that includes your child’s specific needs.
The plan is called an asthma action plan. Though the information for each person varies, doctors include the following in an asthma action plan:
The most important thing to know in an asthma action plan is when your child should take controller vs rescue medication. Your child’s controller medication is an everyday asthma treatment. But rescue medication is only for emergencies.
An asthma action plan details what medication the child should take based on how he or she is feeling. For example, if your child is not feeling well, but isn’t having an asthma attack, they might still take rescue medication.
Your doctor should decide what’s best for the child based on his specific asthma needs. It’s important parents not try and self diagnose which medications a child should take.
As your doctor monitors the child’s asthma over time, he can make updates to the child’s medication to make sure it’s effective.
An asthma action plan separates medication based on how your child feels during the day. Because you’re not with your child all day, the school nurse must have a copy of your asthma action plan.
An asthma action plan should follow your child where ever he or she goes. Caregivers who don’t know a lot about asthma can use the plan to help the child in case of an emergency.
The plan shows which symptoms mean an emergency and which are nothing to worry about.
The next thing your asthma action plan has is a list of the child’s triggers. Triggers are things that have been known to set off asthma flare-ups.
Think of triggers as you would an allergic reaction. If a child is allergic to peanuts, giving them a peanut butter sandwich could be fatal.
The same can be true for asthma triggers. A child with severe asthma can have a potentially fatal flare up if exposed to the wrong triggers.
Here are some common asthma triggers:
Plan activities that keep the child cool like swimming or climbing trees. Triggers are helpful for children to also learn so they can self manage when you are not around.
Doctor’s Contact Information
When you leave your child’s asthma action plan with caregivers, the information should allow them to take immediate action in case of an emergency. Whether dialing 911 or calling your pediatrician, a caregiver needs to know the exact steps to take if the child needs help.
Your doctor’s name and phone number should be included on an asthma action plan. There is also space on the plan for emergency contact if you prefer another point of contact if you and your doctor cannot be reached.
Where do I get an Asthma Action Plan?
Everyone who has asthma needs an asthma action plan. Doctors are the only people who should provide your child with an asthma action plan at least every 6 months.
This helps to keep the asthma action plan current and reduces the chances you are using medication that’s no longer working. Make sure your asthma action plan goes with your child where ever he or she goes to avoid a flareup.
With time, your child will begin to get familiar with the plan so they can speak up for themselves when they are having trouble with their asthma. For more information or to get access to a mobile asthma action plan, download the Asthma Action Hero app today.