What you’re aiming for is to get control of your asthma. That means:

  • You have symptoms on no more than two days a week
  • You need your reliever medicine no more than two days a week, or not at all
  • Your activities aren’t limited by your asthma
  • You don’t get any symptoms at night or when you wake up

If you’re having symptoms more often, or needing to use your reliever, then your asthma could be better controlled and might be holding you back.

If you feel this is the case, here’s what you need to do:

Knowing your own body and your asthma is important – the sooner you notice any changes, the faster you can respond to them and avoid an attack. Usually people monitor their asthma using their symptoms, which is best for most people, but a few will choose to use their peak flow measurement as well.

Peak Flow Monitoring

Your peak flow is how fast you can breathe out, so you blow into a measuring device (a peak flow meter) to see what reading you can get to. Your peak flow has to be measured regularly (usually every morning and night) on the same meter to be useful. There isn’t a single ‘normal’ score; rather it’s about working out what’s normal for you and then tracking if there are any changes.

Peak Flow monitoring chart (PDF 137.4KB)

Asthma Action Plan

An Asthma Action Plan is a set of instructions written with your doctor or nurse that helps you to stay in control of your asthma. It’s usually on a piece of paper, but there are also apps or electronic versions that might be more useful for you.

Your written Asthma Action Plan outlines:

  1. What medication to take.
  2. How to tell if your asthma is getting worse.
  3. What you should do if your symptoms are getting worse.
  4. What to do if you have an asthma attack.

It may only be a piece of paper, but having one of these plans has been proven to:

  • reduce your chance of needing to go to hospital, or for an urgent doctor visit
  • improve your lung function
  • reduce the number of days off work or school due to asthma

Remember, your asthma changes over time so your plan should be reviewed at least once a year to make sure it’s still useful.

Get a plan: there are different types of asthma action plans, so choose whichever one suits you best.