How to use an asthma action plan and peak flow meter (videos)

Editor: V. Dimov, M.D., Allergist/Immunologist, Assistant Professor at University of Chicago

All patients with asthma should have an asthma action plan. An asthma action plan (also called a management plan) is a written plan that you develop with your doctor to help control your asthma.

The asthma action plan shows your daily treatment, such as what kind of medications to take and when to take them. Your plan describes how to control asthma long term AND how to handle worsening asthma, or asthma attacks. The plan explains when to call the doctor or go to the emergency room. Please have a look at the plan below. The first video shows how to use the Asthma Action Plan. The second video shows how to use the optional peak flow meter.

Asthma Action Plan

- Asthma Action Plan, adapted by Dr. Dimov (PDF)
- Asthma Action Plan, with added common medications, not branded for a specific physician  (PDF)
- NIH generic Asthma Action Plan (PDF)



If your child has asthma, all of the people who care for him or her should know about the child's asthma action plan. These caregivers include babysitters and workers at daycare centers, schools, and camps. These caretakers can help your child follow his or her action plan.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, a part of the NIH federal agency, recommends this sample asthma action plan (here is a web-based Action Plan). You and your doctor should develop a written asthma action plan to help control your asthma. Look on the back for a list of possible asthma triggers and ways to avoid them.

Video 1: How to use an asthma action plan. Everyone with asthma should have a plan, an asthma action plan. This plan will help you manage your asthma when youre feeling great or when youre having problems. Learn about how your plan is coded with the colors of the traffic light. This video is an excerpt from the DVD Living With Asthma A Guide to Controlling Your Asthma produced by St. Louis Childrens Hospital:



Video 2: How to use a peak flow meter. A peak flow meter measures how well air flows out of your lungs. A low reading usually means a sign of asthma. Watch how to properly use a peak flow meter. This video is an excerpt from the DVD Living With Asthma A Guide to Controlling Your Asthma produced by St. Louis Childrens Hospital:



A 2010 survey showed that only 27% of children with asthma had a written asthma action plan (WAAP) in the home. 80% of parents believed that WAAPs were extremely useful, and 55% looked at the WAAP when their child was sick or when they needed to administer medication. Parents viewed the use of WAAPs to be extremely useful in the care of their children with asthma.



Asthma - Treatment Options (click to enlarge the image).

References

Asthma Action Plan. CDC.
Asthma action plan use in inner-city children didn't improve asthma outcomes http://goo.gl/mqXQ5 - Why? http://goo.gl/jchgt
Asthma action plans are highly variable and do not conform to best visual design practices  http://goo.gl/MBl5G
Use of Written Asthma Action Plans. Journal of Asthma & Allergy Educators August 2010 vol. 1 no. 4 155-157.
Asthma Action Plan. Dr. David Hagaman, Medical Director of the Vanderbilt Asthma, Sinus, Allergy Program: http://bit.ly/VCmNCu
Action plans without using a peak flow meter can be effective http://buff.ly/19rB8Ty

Published: 06/07/2011
Updated: 03/12/2014

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