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An asthma action plan is a guide to help you manage your condition: when and how to take medications properly, how to track symptoms and when to contact your doctor. Watch family medicine physician Jennifer Caudle, DO, define an asthma action plan.
A asthma action plan is a written plan that you develop with your doctor to help control your asthma. Th asthma action plan shows your daily treatment, such as what kind of medicines to take and when to take them. Your plan describes how to control asthma long term and how to handle worsening asthma, or attacks. The plan explains when to call the doctor or go to the emergency room.
Asthma Action Plan Stages from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Green Zone: Doing Well
No cough, wheeze, chest tightness, or shortness of breath; can do all usual activities. Take prescribed longterm control medicine such as inhaled corticosteroids.
Yellow Zone: Getting Worse
Cough, wheeze, chest tightness, or shortness of breath; waking at night; can do some, but not all, usual activities. Add quick-relief medicine.
Red Zone: Medical Alert!
Very short of breath; quick-relief medicines don't help; cannot do usual activities; symptoms no better after 24 hours in Yellow Zone. Get medical help NOW.
All people with asthma should have an asthma action plan. An asthma action plan (also called a management plan) is a written plan that you develop with your doctor to help control your asthma.
The asthma action plan shows your daily treatment, such as what kind of medicines to take and when to take them. Your plan describes how to control asthma long term and how to handle worsening asthma, or attacks. The plan explains when to call the doctor or go to the emergency room.
If your child has asthma, all of the people who care for him or her should know about the child's asthma action plan. These caregivers include babysitters and workers at daycare centers, schools, and camps. These caretakers can help your child follow his or her action plan.
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The crux of any asthma medication regimen is a color-coded "Asthma Action Plan." This is developed individually for patients and is based on what their personal best peak flow meter reading is and what medications they are currently on. A traffic light is used as the framework for the asthma action plan. The green zone is "good" and the medications are only the maintenance medicines. The peak flow readings are 80-100 percent of the personal best. The yellow zone means to "slow down (not speed up)" because their peak flow readings are dropping. The numbers range between 50% to 80% of their personal best. At this time additional medications such as a bronchodilator and additional inhaled corticosteroids are added to help improve the numbers. If the readings do not improve or continue to get worse, the person needs to be evaluated and treated by their physician. If the peak flow readings drop into the red zone, this is called the "danger" zone. This is when the readings are less than 50% of their personal best. At this time nebulized bronchodilators or a metered-dose inhaler bronchodilator are often used. The individual is also instructed to seek treatment immediately. The purpose of this plan is to assist the patients to feel comfortable managing their asthma and have more control over their illness.
This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.