Skip to Content | Skip to Footer
  • Text Size:
  • decrease text
  • increase text
  • High Contrast:
  • Contrast




It is important to regularly monitor your asthma. When you start having symptoms, take the necessary steps to keep it under control. Below you will find tools and advice on how to regularly check up on your asthma and what to do about it if it does get out of control.


Asthma Action Plan 


Everyone with asthma should have an asthma action plan written out by their health care provider. If you don’t have an asthma action plan, make an appointment to see your health care provider to get one. It can help you make decisions about your asthma treatments based on any symptoms you may be experiencing. You can also use a peak flow meter to help monitor your level of control.


Sample Asthma Action Plan


Click here to download or order your asthma action plan 




An asthma diary can help you monitor your asthma. You can use it to track:

    • asthma symptoms

    • medication use

    • peak flow meter readings

    • asthma triggers




Sample Asthma Diary


By tracking this information, you and your health care provider will get a good picture of the level of control of your asthma. If your asthma is not under control, the diary can help you find out possible reasons.

Click here to download or order your asthma diary card 


Peak flow meter

Although using a peak flow meter is not necessary for everyone, your health care provider may suggest you use one to help track changes in your asthma. A peak flow meter is a hand-held device that you blow into to get a reading of how quickly you can breathe out the air from your lungs. This is known as your "peak flow rate".

Using a peak flow meter is easy and should only take about a minute. Here is how to use a peak flow meter:

    1. Set the arrow to zero on the meter's scale.
    2. Sit up straight or stand for best results and slowly take in a big deep breath.
    3. Place the mouthpiece in your mouth sealing your lips tightly around it and blow out as hard and fast as possible, for just a second.
    4. Record the number.
    5. Repeat the process two more times, recording the highest of your three values in your diary card (do not average the readings).

Use the asthma diary to keep a record of your peak flow rates in table format or plot them out on graph form. Doing a graph helps you see trends occurring over the day or over several days.

How often should you take peak flow measurements?

Peak flow readings can be taken on a regular basis or only at certain times. Regular monitoring may be useful when you are first diagnosed with asthma to determine your normal peak flow rates. Regular monitoring is also important when your asthma is unstable, or for those who do not notice symptoms when their asthma starts getting out of control. If your peak flow rate has dropped below your normal, you can act quickly to get control before it becomes serious.


What to do when your asthma gets out of control


Mild Asthma Attack

If ANY of the following occur:

  • Continuous coughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing (whistling sound in chest)
  • Person may also be anxious, restless, and/or very tired

STEP 1: Immediately use fast-acting reliever inhaler (usually a blue inhaler).

STEP 2: Check symptoms. Only return to normal activity when all symptoms are gone.  If symptoms get worse or do not improve within 10 minutes, this is an emergency - follow steps below.


Asthma Emergency

If ANY of the following occur:

  • Breathing is difficult and fast
  • Cannot speak in full sentences
  • Lips or nail beds are blue or gray
  • Skin on neck or chest sucked in with each breath
  • Person may also be anxious, restless and/or very tired

STEP 1: Immediately use fast-acting reliever inhaler (usually a blue inhaler). CALL 911 for an ambulance.

STEP 2: If symptoms continue, use reliever inhaler every 5-15 minutes until medical help arrives.


After you’ve had a worsening of your asthma or an asthma attack, make an appointment with your family doctor. There may be a need to adjust the doses of your medications. You can also discuss possible reasons why your asthma got out of control and find ways to help prevent this in the future.