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Managing Asthma

Developing an Asthma Action Plan

The Asthma Action Plan is a tool you can use to make an asthma management plan in consultation with your healthcare provider. Download and print the Asthma Action Plan form. Enter as much information as you can. The healthcare provider can help you fill out the rest at your next visit.

Keeping an Asthma Journal

Creating an asthma journal is a great way to track your asthma symptoms and how often you use your fast-acting inhaler. Don't forget to bring the journal to your next visit with your healthcare provider.

Your asthma journal can be as detailed or as basic as you want. To get started, you may want to include the following information:
  • What symptoms you feel
  • How often you feel symptoms
  • How often you use your albuterol inhaler (and how many sprays used)
  • Possible asthma triggers, if you can identify them
  • How well you believe your asthma is being managed overall

Be Prepared for an Asthma Attack

Have you ever found your rescue inhaler empty during an asthma attack? If so, you're not alone.

In a published phone survey of households about inhaler use, it was reported that 1 in 4 found a rescue inhaler empty during an asthma attack. These responses came from 342 surveyed households with a member who was using a rescue inhaler for asthma (all of whom had contacted the Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics at one time).

VENTOLIN HFA is an albuterol inhaler with a built-in dose counter, so you know how many sprays of medicine you have left.

What to Do During an Asthma Attack

  1. Get your VENTOLIN HFA inhaler, remove the cap, and shake the canister well.
  2. Take 1 spray of VENTOLIN HFA. Wait 1 minute, shake the inhaler again, and take another spray.
  3. If the asthma symptoms don't stop within a few minutes, call your healthcare provider. In case of emergency, dial 911.

Talk with your healthcare provider about developing an Asthma Action Plan, so you will know what to do during your asthma attacks.


VENTOLIN HFA is a prescription inhaled medicine used to treat or prevent bronchospasm in people aged 4 years and older with reversible obstructive airway disease. VENTOLIN HFA is also used to prevent exercise–induced bronchospasm (EIB) in patients aged 4 years and older. It is not known if VENTOLIN HFA is safe and effective in children younger than 4 years of age.


  • Do not use VENTOLIN HFA if you are allergic to albuterol sulfate or any of the ingredients in VENTOLIN HFA. If you have any questions or are not sure, you should ask your healthcare provider.
  • Tell your healthcare provider about the medicines you take and about all of your health conditions.
  • Do not use VENTOLIN HFA unless your healthcare provider has taught you how to use the inhaler and you understand how to use it correctly.
  • Do not increase your dose or take extra doses of VENTOLIN HFA without first talking to your healthcare provider.
  • Get medical help right away if VENTOLIN HFA no longer helps your symptoms (like wheezing and trouble breathing), if your symptoms get worse, or if you need to use your inhaler more often.
  • While you are using VENTOLIN HFA, use other inhaled medicines and asthma medicines only as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • VENTOLIN HFA can cause serious side effects, including:
    • worsening trouble breathing, coughing, and wheezing (paradoxical bronchospasm). If this happens, stop using VENTOLIN HFA and call your healthcare provider or get emergency help right away. This is more likely to happen with your first use of a new canister of medicine.
    • heart problems, including faster heart rate and higher blood pressure.
    • possible death in people with asthma who use too much VENTOLIN HFA.
    • serious allergic reactions. Call your healthcare provider or get emergency medical care if you get any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction:
      • rash
      • hives
      • swelling of your face, mouth, and tongue
      • breathing problems
    • changes in laboratory blood values (sugar, potassium).
  • Common side effects of VENTOLIN HFA include:
    • sore throat
    • upper respiratory tract infection, including viral infection
    • cough
    • muscle pain
    • your heart feels like it is pounding or racing (palpitations)
    • chest pain
    • fast heart rate
    • shakiness
    • nervousness
    • dizziness

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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