Asthma Relief and Self-Care
For optimal asthma relief, it’s important to participate in your care. With the help of your health care provider, you can get the best asthma relief by checking your peak flow daily, developing an asthma action plan with your health care provider, keeping an asthma diary, avoiding asthma triggers, and learning ways to manage stress. Getting the best asthma relief means staying on top of your asthma triggers, signs and symptoms, and medications to prevent asthma problems.
Using a Peak Flow Meter for Asthma Care
Using a peak flow meter may help you manage your asthma symptoms. With asthma, the inability to exhale air out of the lungs is responsible for many of the symptoms of asthma. A peak flow meter is an inexpensive, portable, handheld device that is used to measure how well air moves out of your lungs. Measuring your peak flow using this meter is an important part of managing asthma and preventing you or your child from becoming seriously ill.
A peak flow meter works by measuring how fast air comes out of the lungs when you exhale forcefully after inhaling fully. This measure is called a "peak expiratory flow," or "PEF." By keeping track of your PEF, you can know if your asthma is in control or worsening. If it is worsening, that’s a sign to call your health care provider immediately.
For more detail, see WebMD’s article on Using a Peak Flow Meter.
Developing an Asthma Action Plan
Your health care provider can assist you in developing an asthma action plan. This plan can help you to manage your asthma and prevent asthma attacks. The asthma action plan is designed to tell you what to do when you experience changes in the severity of your symptoms and in your peak flow numbers. For instance, your asthma action plan might list your asthma triggers and some ways to avoid them. Your asthma action plan may also list routine asthma symptoms and what you should do if these symptoms occur. The asthma action plan gives you and your family information that can be used in the event that you experience an asthma emergency. You can also develop a child’s asthma action plan in order to have a simple way to understand and manage your child’s asthma.
For more detail, see WebMD’s article on Developing an Asthma Action Plan.
Keeping an Asthma Diary
Keeping an asthma diary allows you to record your asthma symptoms, triggers, and treatment, so you can monitor your asthma. With the asthma diary, you can also record your peak expiratory flow (PEF) readings, compare your PEF readings with your asthma zones, and keep track of how often you use asthma medications for a sudden asthma attack. Keeping an asthma diary will help you recognize asthma attacks and head them off before you become seriously ill. Your health care provider can use this diary to evaluate how well your asthma action plan is working.
For more detail, see WebMD’s article on Keeping an Asthma Diary.