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:
Asthma is characterized by inflammation of the bronchial tubes with increased production of sticky secretions inside the tubes. People with asthma experience symptoms when the airways tighten, inflame, or fill with mucus. Common asthma symptoms include:
Coughing, especially at night
Shortness of breath
Chest tightness, pain, or pressure
Still, not every person with asthma has the same symptoms in the same way. You may not have all of these symptoms, or...
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.
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.
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.