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Healthcare ProvidersThe National Institutes of Health’s 2007 Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma identify 6 key messages for successful asthma treatment:

  1. Asthma patients should be prescribed a long-term control medication to manage their asthma and avoid exacerbations. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are recommended as the most potent and effective long-term controller medications.

  2. At diagnosis, severity of asthma should be classified using the domains of current impairment and future risk. Classification of severity will determine initial treatment and stepwise care, as detailed in this excerpt from the 2007 Guidelines Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol.

  3. All patients with asthma should receive a written asthma action plan describing their daily treatment regimen and how to respond to an asthma exacerbation. For school-aged children, these plans should also be sent to the school nurse and any other caretakers. Download the New Hampshire Asthma Action Plan Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol.

  4. Patients should be scheduled for periodic follow-up visits in order to assess asthma control and determine if steps up or down in treatment are indicated.

  5. At follow-up visits, providers should review patients’ level of control. Patients should be taught to recognize symptom patterns and/or Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) measures that indicate inadequate worsening asthma. Providers should also assess patient understanding of management plan and correct medication usage.

  6. Providers should ask asthma patients about environmental exposure to allergens or irritants, and help patients develop a strategy to reduce any exposure to environmental triggers. This includes smoking cessation and avoidance of secondhand smoke. Patients in certain New Hampshire communities may be eligible for the Manchester or Nashua Asthma Home Visiting Programs to assist in home environmental trigger control.

For more information on asthma management, visit the Asthma Initiative of Michigan Resource Page, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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