Asthma Action Plan
Having an Asthma Action Plan is an important tool for parents of children with asthma. It’s a form you get from your health care provider with information about your child’s asthma management. Keep a copy where you can easily find it so you can refer to it every day to manage your child’s asthma.
You should give copies of this plan to the other adults who care for your child. His day care provider, teacher, school nurse, or grandparents may be important members of your asthma action team. They should know the warning signs of an oncoming asthma episode, and they should know how to help your child if symptoms worsen or he has a breathing emergency.
Some things on your child’s plan will include:
- The name, dosage, and timing of your child’s medicines
- Your child’s triggers
- Emergency contact information, such as your provider’s phone number and your phone number
- What to do when your child’s asthma symptoms first appear
- What to do in a breathing emergency
If your child’s asthma symptoms get worse when she exercises, plays hard, or participates in sports, then exercise may be one of her triggers. Talk with your health care provider and ask what steps your child can take to help avoid asthma symptoms while being active. These steps will be explained on the Asthma Action Plan, and when followed, your child should be able to be as active as she wants to be, even with asthma. Learn more about exercise as an asthma trigger.
If your health care provider doesn’t mention an Asthma Action Plan, be sure to ask for one. You can also print a blank Asthma Action Plan form and take it to your provider.
Know Your Child’s Zones
Your child’s Asthma Action Plan is separated into three zones – green, yellow, red. Your child’s asthma action zones can be determined by symptoms or by using a peak flow meter.
Consult your child’s action plan.
An Asthma Action Plan and a peak flow meter are to be used hand-in-hand. A peak flow meter is a great tool to use to help you and your child know when he is doing well or to know when to take action to prevent an asthma episode.
The same colors are on your child’s peak flow meter and Asthma Action Plan, and they show you what zone he is in. Think of the colors on a traffic light: green means go, yellow means slow down and caution, and red means stop. Your health care provider will help determine your child’s asthma zones, and list the steps to follow for each zone.
Green means “Go.”
Just like with the traffic light, if the reading is in the GREEN ZONE, your child is in pretty good control and he can go and play. That means the reading is within 80 to 100% of your child’s personal best peak flow rate.
Yellow stands for “Caution.”
If the reading is in the YELLOW ZONE, 50 to 80% of your child’s personal best peak flow rate, slow down and use caution. You need to help your child follow his warning sign steps on his Asthma Action Plan. He should take his quick-relief medicine and then sit and relax while the medicine does its job.
If you see Red, “Take Action!”
If the reading is in the RED ZONE, you need to take quick action. This means that the peak flow is less than 50% of the normal rate. Your child needs stop all activity and take her quick-relief medicine immediately and you should contact your health care provider right away.