What is an Asthma Action Plan and why does my child need one?

Controlling asthma is all about being prepared. But being prepared is easier said than done. Your child is most likely busy and active. In relation to your child’s asthma, not only do you have to think about your own home, but you have to think about school, sports, activities and the million other places they go and things they do. This is where an asthma action plan is key. It helps you plan and keep your child’s asthma in control – no matter what the situation.

What is an asthma action plan?

An asthma action plan is a written plan that you, your child and your doctor create together to help control your child’s asthma. It can also be called a management plan.

The plan outlines various things, including information about medications, a step-by-step plan to help avoid attacks and who should have a copy of your asthma action plan.

Medication information about:

  • Daily treatments
  • What medications your child should take and when he or she should take them
  • How to handle a flare-up or an attack
  • When to call the doctor or go to the emergency room

A Step-by-step process explaining:

  • How to identify early symptoms and treat right away
  • What triggers to avoid
  • Any other specific details about your child’s asthma

Who should have the plan?

  • People who care for your child (caregivers, babysitters)
  • Your child’s school or daycare
  • Your child’s coaches (sports, or other activities)
  • Parents of your child’s friends
  • Other people that interact frequently with your child

Why should my child have an asthma action plan?

By having an asthma action plan, children with asthma are able to better live their lives as normal kids, playing, participating in activities and going about their days without having asthma symptoms. The goal is to both prevent asthma attacks or flare-ups, and also provide the proper response in the event of an attack. This will help avoid unnecessary trips to the emergency room and give your child the quality of live he or she deserves.

Your child’s unique plan

Remember, no two asthma action plans are the same. Each child’s asthma is different – their triggers, early symptoms and forms of treatment. Make sure you are checking in with your doctor to keep your child’s plan updated and current, as your child’s asthma can change over time as well.

Having a child with asthma can seem overwhelming and control may feel out of your reach. With a plan and some time, it becomes easier and easier.

If you don’t have an asthma action plan for your child, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Control is within your reach and it is possible for your child to live a full, active life!

Authored by Gerardo Jimenez, Sixteenth Street Bilingual Asthma Education Specialist

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