Tips for Using the Asthma Signs Diary
Thomas F. Plaut, M.D.
These tips can help you teach parents of young children how to use
an asthma signs diary effectively. If time is
limited, explain only a single category (medicines,
signs and symptoms or comments) and continue
instruction at the next visit. We send the diary
out to patients before their first asthma consultation.
We find that most of them can understand the
written instructions and can fill out much of
the diary without difficulty. We review and
analyze their record with them at the first
the parent to look for triggers when a sign
of asthma appears.
about the effect of triggers (such as cold
air, cigarette smoke, cats, exercise) on the
signs of asthma.
the effect of an upper respiratory tract infection
on the signs and symptoms of asthma before
and after an effective preventive treatment
plan is in place.
ways the patient can avoid triggers, pretreat
before encountering anticipated triggers,
and/or use medicine to eliminate symptoms
caused by triggers.
parents to record visits to health care providers,
as well as other significant events.
the brand name, dose and frequency of each
medication in the first column. Ask the parent
to record each dose.
and record the discard date for each inhaler.
inhaled steroids take one to four weeks to
produce a full effect.
inhaled beta-agonist usually reduces the signs
of asthma within one to ten minutes
that your patients record data each morning,
half an hour after rising.
the parent understands asthma triggers and asthma
medicines, and the child has been in the green
zone for at least one month, it is safe to
reduce the frequency of recording.
parents find they need to make entries in
the diary only when signs of asthma are present,
when they change their medication routine
and when they enter a threatening environment.