Tracking Asthma Symptoms

One way that your doctor diagnoses and treats your asthma is by looking at your history of asthma symptoms. Your doctor needs to know when your asthma symptoms change significantly. Keep a record of your asthma symptoms by writing down when they occur and what triggers make them worse. An Asthma Diary will be helpful to you as well as your doctor as you work together to prevent asthma symptom flare-ups, also known as asthma attacks.


How to Handle Asthma Symptoms

Your Asthma Action Plan is your guide for managing your asthma symptoms. This is a written document that your doctor helps you to fill out. Your Asthma Action Plan guides you in:

  • how to monitor your asthma symptoms
  • how to determine signs that your asthma is getting worse
  • when to take asthma medication
  • when to contact your doctor or healthcare provider
  • when and how to seek medical help in an emergency

If you don't have an Asthma Action Plan yet, take the time to visit your doctor and complete one. Share this plan with the key people in your life so they can find it quickly and help you in case of an emergency. Have your Asthma Action Plan nearby at all times. Good places to keep it are under the phone, in your bedroom, or taped to a cabinet in the kitchen. Also, keep copies with you when you are at work or school.


Written by Karen Serrano, MD

Emergency Medicine resident at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Reviewed by Lisa V. Suffian, MD

Instructor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Division of Allergy and Pulmonary Medicine at Saint Louis Children's Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine

Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, Saint Louis University

Board certified in Allergy and Immunology

Last updated June 2008