Asthma Care During an Emergency

During and after an emergency, you may have questions about how to manage your or your child’s asthma.  Here are some important steps:

Follow your Asthma Action Plan:
  • Take all your asthma medication exactly as prescribed. Don’t stop any medications or change your asthma treatment plan without talking to your healthcare provider.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider, insurer, and pharmacist about creating an emergency supply of at least 30 days of prescription medications, such as asthma inhalers. Make sure that you have at least 30 days of non-prescription medications and supplies in case you need to stay home for a long time.
  • Know how to use your inhaler.
  • Avoid your asthma triggers.
Take everyday precautions.

Wash your hands. Washing hands with soap and water is the best way to reduce the number of germs on them. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Hand sanitizers are not effective when hands are visibly dirty. Wash your hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • After using the toilet
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching garbage
  • During a disease outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible.
  • When you do go out in public, keep away from others who are sick. Avoid crowds and people who are sick and wash your hands when you get home.
  • If someone in your home is sick, have them stay away from the rest of the household.
  • Avoid sharing personal household items such as cups and towels.
Clean and disinfect.

Clean things you or your family touch frequently like tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, remotes, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks. Avoid disinfectants that can cause an asthma attack.  Have someone who doesn’t have asthma clean and disinfect. When they use cleaning and disinfecting products have them

  • Minimize use of disinfectants that can cause an asthma attack.
  • Make sure that people with asthma are not in the room.
  • Open windows or doors and use a fan that blows air outdoors.
  • Apply disinfectant to a cloth or paper towel instead of spraying it.
  • Always follow the instructions on the product label.
Take steps to help yourself cope.

Strong emotions can trigger an asthma attack. Help yourself cope with stress and anxiety.

Get prescription assistance.

The Emergency Prescription Assistance Program (EPAP) can help some people in a disaster area who don’t have health insurance get their prescription drugs, medical supplies, or medical equipment. EPAP is only available when activated in a federally-identified disaster area. Learn more about EPAP: icon [1-855-793-7470].

Page last reviewed: April 9, 2020