By Dr. Maria Samerson
Although potentially life threatening, asthma is a very common condition, effecting more than 26 million Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, despite being so prevalent, most asthma sufferers don’t have an asthma action plan in place to help them manage the disease.
An asthma action plan is a written document that:
- outlines day-to-day treatment
- lays out symptoms to watch for
- provides step-by-step instructions to follow during a flare-up
The goal of an asthma action plan is to reduce or prevent asthma attacks and emergency department visits. It also helps those dealing with asthma understand the best ways to manage their condition, as well as acting as a useful guide for those who could help them during an asthma attack.
The action plan should:
- go with the asthma sufferer wherever they go
- be kept at home in a centrally located spot
- be made available to friends and co-workers so they’ll be comfortable assisting in the event of an asthma flair-up
Asthma sufferers should review the plan with their healthcare provider every six months to keep it current. Any time something changes, updates should be made to all copies of the plan.
Templates for asthma action plans can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
Remember, if you suffer from asthma, take it seriously and work to manage it… It could truly save your life.
Dr. Maria Samerson is the Senior Corporate Medical Director for WellCare Health Plans, Inc.