Today marks World Asthma Day and the beginning of Asthma Awareness Month. The events are organized to improve asthma awareness and care worldwide.

As part of these efforts, people with asthma and their families are encouraged to work with their health care provider to create a personalized, written asthma action plan (AAP). The plan should include details ranging from how to take medication to reducing environmental triggers like dust mites and tobacco smoke.

AAPs are one of the six key actions, drawn from the National Institutes of Health’s National Asthma Education and Prevention Program’s evidence-based guidelines. Those six actions include:

  • Using of inhaled corticosteroids to control persistent asthma.
  • Using of a written action plan that gives patients information on what to do daily to control their asthma and how to handle symptoms or asthma attacks.
  • Assessing asthma severity at the initial visit to determine what treatment to start to get the patient’s asthma under control.
  • Assessing and monitoring how well controlled a patient’s asthma is at follow-up visits.
  • Scheduling follow-up visits at periodic intervals, and at least every 6 months.
  • Controlling environmental exposures such as allergens or irritants that worsen a patient’s asthma.

Currently, only about one in three patients with asthma has an AAP, although the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program has identified personalized AAPs as “must-haves” for all asthma patients, particularly those with moderate and severe asthma, a history of asthma attacks, or poorly controlled asthma.

Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute