Writing in the latest edition of Australian Prescriber, Associate Professor Helen Reddel, of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, says personal asthma action plans are an important part of helping people recognise and respond to worsening asthma.
However, only a small minority of adults have worked with their health professional to write one.
“If you have asthma and you don’t have a written asthma action plan, ask your doctor for one,” Dr Reddel said.
“Asthma action plan templates are freely available.
“Your doctor can help you personalise the plan with information relevant for you.”
The written action plan should include your current asthma preventer and reliever medicines.
It will tell you when you should move to the next step in your plan if you are having asthma symptoms.
The plan should outline when you should contact your doctor or go to hospital if your symptoms are worsening.
Dr Reddel also said that while it might seem obvious, people with well-controlled asthma often needed a prompt to keep a reliever inhaler on hand.
“If your asthma gets worse, remember to use your reliever inhaler as often as needed, but seek help if you need it again within four hours,” she said.
An asthma action plan should also include a section on asthma first-aid, which people can share with their friends and family so they are aware of what to do in an emergency.
“Asthma is a treatable condition but it is still important for people who do have it to make sure they are being proactive in their own health care,” Dr Reddel said.
“Your asthma action plan should be reviewed with your doctor whenever your medicines are changed or at least on a yearly basis.”
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