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Asthma Self Management: Patient Self Management/Monitoring

There is strong evidence supporting asthma self-management education for patients to improve control and outcomes. The Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (EPR-3) includes a specific section dedicated to “Tools for Asthma Self-Management.”

Click here to access the full report.


Additionally, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) provides a variety of patient self-management tools for the treatment of asthma.

Click here for these tools.


Asthma Action Plans

NHLBI guidelines recommend all patients are provided with a personalized asthma action plan, which is written and maintained in collaboration with a health care provider. This document outlines how to control asthma long term and how to recognize and handle worsening asthma. Asthma plans are particularly important in patients with poorly controlled asthma, moderate or severe persistent asthma, or a history of severe exacerbations.

Examples of asthma action plans and related resources are provided below:



Asthma Action Plan

The following is an example of an asthma action plan through the NHLBI.

Click here for this link.


My Asthma Wallet Card

This is a convenient wallet card including information on common asthma attack warning signs, health care provider questions, and details regarding the patient’s asthma action plan, peak flow and medicines.

Click here for this link.


American Lung Association

The American Lung Association provides an Asthma Action Plan for Home and School that includes language for school-aged children to self-carry their asthma inhaler in school. This and additional information describing asthma action plans can be found here.

Click here for this link.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC provides a variety of tools for asthma control created based on evidence-based guidelines.

Click here for this link.


Peak Flow Monitoring

Peak flow monitoring is a tool for ongoing monitoring of asthma control over time rather than diagnosis. According to EPR-3 guidelines, peak flow monitoring may be considered in patient who have moderate or severe persistent asthma, have severe exacerbations, or poorly perceive airflow obstruction and worsening asthma.  Long-term peak flow monitoring on a daily basis may be useful in identifying changes in asthma control that necessitate treatment adjustments, evaluate responses to treatment changes or provide a quantitative measure of airflow obstruction.


Since peak expiratory flow (PEF) is dependent upon the patient’s effort and technique, it is important that patients receive thorough instruction, demonstration and continuous review of technique on an ongoing basis. The following resources are helpful educational tools for patients regarding peak flow monitoring.


American Lung Association

This patient resource reviews information including: who can benefit from using a peak flow meter, why peak flow rates should be measured, detailed steps on how and when to use a peak flow meter, how to chart peak flow rates, normal values and how to measure and interpret individualized normal peak flow rates using green, yellow and red zones, and lastly how peak flow readings relate to asthma action plans.

Click here for this link.


Patient's may also find the following instructional video by the American Lung Association useful when learning how to use a peak flow meter.

Click here for this link.


The EPR-3 Guidelines also include an educational handout on “How to Use Your Peak Flow Meter.” Please refer to Figure 3-11. A pdf link to the guidelines is accessible via this link.

Click here for this link.



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