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Asthma Self-Management Education—or AS-ME for short—is an extra layer of education and support for people with asthma and their families, especially those with a history of uncontrolled asthma. AS-ME courses, which are offered in a variety of settings, strive to:

  1. Educate people about asthma.
  2. Build up their skills for keeping asthma well-managed.
  3. Provide tools to assess their own asthma control and determine whether it is well-controlled or poorly controlled.

Completing a full AS-ME program is shown to improve asthma control, reduce missed school and workdays, and prevent asthma-related emergencies and hospital stays. 


Sign up to complete Vermont's “Brief AS-ME” course

This course can be completed in two 30 minute sessions or four 15 minute sessions, and can help you to develop knowledge, skills and self-assessment abilities in the following areas:

For children 4-11 years old and/or their caretakers, a comparable course is available called "Pediatric AS-ME.”

Click the links above to learn more about these topics. Or contact the Asthma Program to sign up for one of these AS-ME courses: Email:

Asthma Basics

Asthma is a chronic (long term) condition that affects the airways in the lungs. The airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma, the airways can become inflamed and narrowed at times. This makes it harder for air to flow out of your airways when you breathe out. The lungs can also fill with mucus making it hard to breathe in or out.

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Tip #1: Get a proper diagnosis and understand your treatment plan

Having a proper diagnosis and treatment plan for asthma is crucial and can save your life. If you think you or a family member has asthma see your health care provider as soon as possible and talk with them about your symptoms.

A treatment plan includes what medications to take and when, and includes regular visits with your primary care doctor to monitor your asthma condition.

Asthma Medications

Most asthma treatment plans include prescription medications that fall into two main categories:

  • Quick-relief medications – often referred to as “rescue” inhalers that should be taken as-needed. They are sometimes referred to as bronchodilators. These work in a short period of time to open or relax the airways for better airflow.
  • Long-Acting Medications – an inhaled medicine known as a steroid that works to reduce inflammation and mucus build-up. These are taken daily for an extended period of time.
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Tip #2: Continue to use your medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider, even when you feel good.

Long-acting medications are the key to keeping your asthma in the green zone. If you frequently use a quick-relief inhaler to treat symptoms, your asthma isn't under control. Follow your Asthma Action Plan and notify your health care provider to get back into the green zone.

Asthma Triggers

Asthma “triggers” are certain factors that can cause a reaction in the airways of people with asthma. Triggers can be the common cold or other respiratory viruses, certain cleaning products, allergens, air pollution, tobacco smoke, wood burning, weather, strong emotion and activities that make it harder to breathe. Triggers are unique to each person, so it is important to pay attention to the things around you that could cause your asthma to “flare.” A good first step is to identify and reduce your triggers.

Common triggers in Vermont include: 

Environmental Factors/Risks Certain Circumstances
  • Pollen
  • Pet Dander
  • Dust Mites
  • Gas stove and other fuel fumes
  • Wood burning
  • Smoke and vapors
  • Strong smells, scented candles and perfumes
  • Chemicals such as cleaning products
  • Moisture and mold
  • Cockroaches and mice droppings
  • Catching th common cold or COVID-19
  • Exercise
  • Pets in the bedroom
  • Carpet in the bedroom
  • Extreme heat and cold
  • Stress and strong emotions
  • Seasonal changes that might interact with allergies
  • Smoking and vaping
  • Wood burning


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Tip #3: Eliminate at least 1-4 personal asthma triggers from your home, school and workplace.

Here are several resources to help you do this:

Asthma Management

While asthma is a life-long (chronic) condition the symptoms can be managed and are often reversible. Keep your asthma well-controlled to live an active, healthy life with asthma.


Get an Asthma Action Plan every year

This is a user-friendly version of your treatment plan to help you manage changing asthma conditions, keep family and caretakers informed, and keep you in the green zone of well-controlled asthma.

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Tip #4: Develop these 3 main skills to keep your asthma well-controlled.

  • Confirm you are using your device properly with a “show back” to your doctor.
  • Know your personal triggers and work to eliminate as many as possible, and talk with your doctor about those you can’t avoid.
  • Maintain good communication with your doctor, school nurse, family members and coach about your asthma, especially around what to do in an emergency. For example, share your Asthma Action Plan with them.

Other health behaviors that help control asthma

These behaviors support good asthma control and a healthy, active life:

  • Visit your primary care doctor regularly.
  • Talk with your doctor about continuing the activities and exercise you love.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke and vapors by making your home and car smoke-free. Learn more about Secondhand Smoke. 
  • Keep pregnant and new moms away from tobacco smoke and vapors. This can prevent new cases of asthma and protect moms and other children.
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom.
  • Get a flu shot every year.
  • Contact the Asthma Program to sign up for one of these AS-ME courses at
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