Covers using an asthma action plan for asthma attacks. Includes using a peak flow meter. Explains green, yellow, and red zones in an action plan. Covers what medicines to take in each zone. Reviews what to do if an attack becomes an emergency.
Asthma: Using an Asthma Action Plan
If you or your child has
asthma that requires daily treatment, it is important
to have an asthma action plan. An asthma action plan is a written plan that
tells you what asthma medicine to take every day and how to treat an
asthma attack. It can help you make quick decisions in
case you are not able to think clearly during an attack.
action plan usually includes:
Treatment goals, which include your personal goals about your
An outline of the medicines you take daily for asthma
control and when to take them.
Steps to take and medicines to use to treat an asthma attack
early, before it becomes severe.
What to do if an attack becomes
an emergency, and where to get medical treatment.
Using an asthma action plan can help you stay active with
fewer asthma problems. Following your plan is a big step toward controlling the
disease so you can live the life you want.
Develop your plan
Work with your doctor to make an asthma action plan(What is a PDF document?)
for you or your child. The action plan is based on peak flow and asthma
symptoms. These help your doctor know how bad your asthma is. An action plan
The peak flow readings and symptoms for
What medicines to take in each zone.
to call a doctor.
A list of emergency contact
A list of your asthma triggers.
Let your doctor know what you want regarding asthma care. For
example, if you are not comfortable using a peak flow meter, tell your doctor.
If you make an asthma action plan for your child, give a copy to
the child's school or caregivers and make sure they know how to use it.
Follow your daily treatment, and use the asthma action plan
Take your daily medicines to help minimize
long-term damage and avoid asthma attacks.
Check your peak flow regularly, such as every morning. This is the best
way to know how well your lungs are working.
Check your action
plan to see what zone you are in.
If you are in the
green zone (peak flow is
80% to 100% of your personal best), keep taking your daily asthma medicines as
If you are in the
yellow zone (peak flow
is 50% to 79% of your personal best), you may be having or will soon have an
asthma attack. You may not have any symptoms, but your lungs are not working as
well as they should. Take the medicines listed in your action plan. If you stay
in the yellow zone, your doctor may need to increase the dose or add a
If you are in the
red zone (peak flow is less than 50% of your personal best), follow your action plan. If your symptoms or peak flow don't
improve soon, you may need to go to the emergency room or be admitted to the
asthma diary(What is a PDF document?). Write down your peak flow readings in
the asthma diary. If you have an attack, write down what caused it (if you
know), the symptoms, and what medicine you took.
Review the plan with your doctor
Take both the asthma action plan and the
asthma diary when you see your doctor. Get answers to any questions you have about your asthma plan or your symptoms. Let your doctor know if treatment
is not controlling your asthma attacks.
Take your peak flow meter
and medicines so your doctor can review your treatment.
you know how and when to call your doctor or go to the hospital.
Tell your doctor if you are having trouble following your action plan.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.