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Moderate And Severe Persistent Asthma


Moderate or severe persistent asthma means you have asthma symptoms every day. You may also need to use your rescue inhaler daily to treat shortness of breath. Your normal activities are affected by wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest tightness. You have frequent flare-ups when your symptoms become worse. Flare-ups at night can affect your sleep and happen at least once a week.


Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your lips or fingernails turn gray or blue.
  • You have severe symptoms.
  • Your peak flow numbers are in the red zone of your asthma action plan.
  • The skin around your neck and ribs pulls in with each breath.

Contact your asthma specialist if:

  • You continue to have symptoms even after you take medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Medicines help decrease inflammation in your lungs, open your airways, and make it easier to breathe. You may need to use medicine to relieve your symptoms quickly during an attack. You may also need long-term medicine to help prevent future attacks. The medicines may be injected, inhaled, or given as a pill. Some medicines may help control your allergies. Ask your asthma specialist for more information about the medicine you are given and how to take it safely.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your asthma specialist if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage your persistent asthma:

  • Follow your asthma action plan. This is a written plan that you and your asthma specialist create. It explains which medicine you need and when to change doses if necessary. It also explains how you can monitor symptoms and use a peak flow meter. The meter measures how well air moves out of your lungs.
  • Identify and avoid triggers. Keep your home free of pets, dust mites, cockroaches, and mold.

  • Manage other health conditions , such as allergies, sinus problems, sleep apnea, or acid reflux.
  • Do not smoke, and avoid others who smoke. Nicotine and other chemicals in cigarettes and cigars can cause lung damage. Ask your healthcare provider for information if you currently smoke and need help to quit. E-cigarettes or smokeless tobacco still contain nicotine. Talk to your healthcare provider before you use these products.
  • Ask about the flu vaccine. The flu can make your asthma worse. You may need a yearly flu shot.

Follow up with your asthma specialist as directed:

You may need more tests to see how well your treatment is working. You may be asked to write down your peak flow values and bring them to your visits. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.