An asthma action plan is a management plan developed between a pediatrician and the child's primary caregiver to control the symptoms of asthma. It details the appropriate use of medications as well as when to take a child to the emergency room depending on his symptoms and classification of asthma. For this reason, every child with a diagnosis of asthma should have an asthma action plan.
Parts of the Asthma Action Plan
The asthma action plan has three parts: green zone, yellow zone and red zone.
This means that the child is doing well. She does not have coughing, wheezing or shortness of breath. Her peak flow is 80 to 100 percent of her personal best. In this zone, the child will continue on the long-term controller medications without the need for the short-term rescue medications.
This zone means that the asthma is getting worse. The child is showing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing and mild shortness of breath. He may have nighttime awakenings due to his asthma. The peak flow is 50 to 80 percent of his personal best. In this case, short-term rescue medications may need to be used, and the child's physician should be called to prevent further symptoms.
In this zone, the child is having severe symptoms that are not relieved by his rescue medications. The physician must immediately be called or the child should be taken to the emergency room.
Each plan is unique to the child as determined by the severity of her asthma. The pediatrician will determine the types of medications to be taken within each zone and when it is necessary to take the child to the emergency room. The plan should be distributed to all caregivers for the child and should be easily available.