The Importance of an Asthma Management Plan

The better informed you are about your condition, the better control you will have over your asthma symptoms. To assist, you and your allergist will develop a personalized management plan that includes:

1. Establishing barriers

Ways to avoid your asthma triggers.

2. Prescription help

Medications to prevent symptoms, as well as medications to use for quick relief of flare-ups.

3. An action plan

To identify when you are doing well and when you need to seek help.

Together, you and your allergist can work to ensure that asthma interferes with your daily life as little as possible.

Asthma symptoms, also called asthma flare-ups or asthma attacks, are often caused by allergies and exposure to allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, pollen or mold. Non-allergic triggers include smoke, pollution or cold air or changes in weather. Asthma symptoms may also worsen during exercise, when you have a cold or during times of high stress.

The most common symptom is wheezing. This is a scratchy or whistling sound when you breathe. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, chronic coughing and trouble sleeping due to coughing or wheezing.

Children with asthma may show the same symptoms as adults with asthma: coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. In some children, chronic cough may be the only symptom.

If your child has one or more of these common symptoms, make an appointment with an allergist/immunologist:

1. Constant cough

Coughing that is constant or that is made worse by viral infections, happens while sleeping, or is triggered by exercise and cold air.

2. Breathing out

Wheezing or whistling sound when exhaling.

3. Cut short

Shortness of breath or rapid breathing, which may be associated with exercise.

4. Chest tightness

A young child may say that his or her chest “hurts” or “feels funny.”

5. Fatigue

Your child may slow down or stop playing.

6. Problems feeding

Or grunting during feeding for infants.

7. Skipping out

Avoiding sports or social activities.

8. Problems sleeping

Due to coughing or difficulty breathing.

An allergist diagnoses asthma by taking a thorough medical history and performing breathing tests to measure how well your lungs work. Many people with asthma also have allergies, so your doctor may perform allergy testing. Treating the underlying allergic triggers for your asthma will help you avoid asthma symptoms.

With proper treatment and an asthma management plan, you can minimize your symptoms and enjoy a better quality of life.