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Keeping an asthma diary

Keeping an asthma diary to record symptoms, medication doses and activities at the time of asthma symptoms can help pinpoint triggers for asthma attacks so that steps can be taken to try to avoid these in future.

The asthma diary is used to:

  • Record your asthma symptoms and peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) readings.
  • Compare your PEF readings with your asthma zones.
  • Keep track of how often you use medications to treat acute asthma attacks.

Recording this information will help you recognise asthma attacks and head them off before you become seriously ill. Your doctor will also use this diary to evaluate how well your asthma action plan is working.

How do I keep a daily asthma diary?

Each day:

  • Fill in the date.
  • Measure your PEFRs using a peak flow meter and record the readings in your diary. Be sure you measure PEF before taking your daily asthma medications.
  • Compare your PEFR readings to your asthma zones.
  • If your highest PEFR reading is less than 80% of your personal best, you must follow the instructions you were given by your doctor in your asthma action plan. Also remember to check PEFs more frequently that day, including an evening PEF.
  • Fill in the total number of puffs of the short-acting beta 2-agonist (your rescue or quick-acting inhaler) used over the past 24 hours.
  • Rate any asthma symptoms you had during the day.

Remember to take your asthma diary each time you visit your doctor or asthma nurse so he or she can assess how well your asthma treatment plan is working.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on July 07, 2016

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