If you have asthma, it is important to find support. The people around you -- family members, friends, coworkers -- can all give you support with asthma. These people should know what to do in an asthma emergency, and they should also know that asthma can be controlled and managed.
As you find support with asthma, it’s important to give a copy of your asthma action plan to close friends, family members, and coworkers. Your asthma action plan should include the following:
An asthma action plan is a written plan developed by your doctor or asthma specialist to help you or another family member, including teenagers and children, manage asthma and prevent asthma attacks. The plan is designed to tell you or other family members what to do when there are changes in the severity of asthma symptoms and in peak flow numbers.
Contact information for your asthma health care provider
A list of asthma medications you take, how often you take them, and how much you take (dosage)
A list of asthma triggers (substances or behaviors that make breathing more difficult)
A description of three "zones" of asthma control: green (the best), yellow (control is worsening), and red (medical alert stage). These stages are determined by peak flow meter readings that measure your breathing. Green is for the times when peak flow readings are 80% to 100% of your personal best reading; yellow for when the peak flow is 50% to 79% of your best; and red for when breathing is 50% or less of your personal best, which requires immediate medical attention. Medication information should be included for all zones.
Asthma action plans are useful for anyone with an asthma diagnosis, including adults with adult-onset asthma, teenagers, and kids with childhood asthma.
Finding Support for Kids With Asthma
It is especially important that school officials have a copy of your child’s asthma action plan and information on asthma medications your child needs to take at school, so they know what to do in case of emergencies. Your child's teachers, as well as the principal and office staff, should be aware of the details of the plan so they know how to manage your child’s asthma at school. Physical education (PE) teachers also need to know if your child has exercise-induced asthma where symptoms of asthma can worsen with exercise.
Parents should contact the school nurse and the people who staff the nurse’s office when the nurse is not there. Parents and students need to be aware of school medication policies and students should have access to asthma inhalers or bronchodilators for asthma symptom relief.
Other Ways to Find Asthma Support
Support groups provide a very useful sharing experience. Asthma support groups offer an environment in which you can learn new ways of dealing with your illness. You may want to share approaches you have discovered with others. You will also gain strength in knowing that you are not facing hardship alone. There are also other organizations that provide excellent support for those with asthma.
There are many more ways to help you find support with asthma. Just follow the links that interest you.