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Table 1 Items that should be addressed by comprehensive asthma self-management education materials

From: Apps for asthma self-management: a systematic assessment of content and tools

Topic Criteria
Basic facts about the nature of the condition States that asthma is a lung disease characterized by inflammation and narrowing of the airways
States that the four main symptoms of asthma are cough, wheeze, shortness of breath and chest tightness
States that asthma cannot be cured (although childhood symptoms may remit) but can be effectively controlled
States that the cause of asthma is not known
The nature of treatment: relievers and preventers States that there are two classes of medication: relievers and preventers
Explains possible side effects of medication (tachycardia/tremor in Β2 agonists; thrush/cataracts/dysphonia for inhaled steroids; possible additional effects for high dose steroids)
States that early treatment can prevent symptoms from worsening
Allergen and trigger avoidance States that recognizing and avoiding personal triggers is an important part of asthma control
Provides guidance consistent with the primary and Secondary prevention components of the BTS/SIGN guidelines in relation to specific triggers
How to use treatment States that preventer medication must be used regularly to be effective
States the importance of good inhaler technique and appropriate use of a spacer device
States the importance of ensuring inhalers are in date and are not empty
Self-monitoring and assessment skills States that learning to recognize signs of change in asthma symptoms is an important personal skill
States that all patients with asthma should have a peak flow meter
Explains the purpose of a peak flow meter and how to use it
States the importance of regular physician review
The role of a written, personalized action plan States that patients with asthma should have an up to date written action plan. Explains the purpose of an action plan (to step up and step down treatment, and to seek appropriate help in response to changing symptoms and/or peak flow)
Recognizing and responding appropriately to acute exacerbations Describes signs/symptoms of worsening asthma (increasing wheeze; cough; night time disturbance breathlessness limiting activity; reliever inhalers not working)
States the importance of changing treatment and/or seeking help promptly
Lay management of acute asthma
Personalizing the definition of good asthma control States that it is reasonable for most people to achieve minimal symptoms and limitation of activities
Asks patients to reflect on what they would consider as good asthma control
Advocates discussion with personal health provider to set treatment goals in partnership
  1. Topics were based on UK BTS/SIGN, US EPR-3 and GINA guidelines.