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Reduce Flare-ups And ER Visits With An Asthma Action Plan

November 22, 2022

What’s an Asthma Action Plan? 

Asthma action plans outline how to manage asthma effectively. These action plans are commonly created for children with asthma; however, these plans can benefit you whether you’re five or 55. 

An asthma action plan is a written list of the steps on what to do in case you are experiencing symptoms, and what to do when you have an asthma flare. Every asthma action plan is personalized and can be a clear reminder of what was discussed between you and your doctor. It also tells you or someone else what steps to take, exactly when to call a doctor, or go to the emergency room.

What should be Included in an Asthma Action Plan?

There are a few key points that your asthma action plan should outline, including:

  • What are your or your child’s asthma triggers? 
  • What medication(s) are being taken?
    • Include the specific names of each medication and the frequency they are used.
  • What signs should you look for to know if your asthma is getting worse?
  • How to know what medicine to take when asthma symptoms get worse.
  • What symptoms require urgent medical attention.
  • Phone numbers someone should contact for you in case of an emergency.
Doctor and patient filling out a form

Download an Asthma Action Plan Template

Fill out this template with your doctor and save a photo it to your phone, so you have the plan with you at all times. When combined with a peak flow meter, this form can help you or someone taking care of your child determine if asthma symptoms are worsening and what to do next.

Download Template

when do i use my Asthma Action Plan?

Asthma action plans are designated into three zones – green, yellow, and red.

  • The green zone, or the “doing well” zone, is where you want to be daily. In this zone, you are not experiencing any coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or trouble breathing, and you can do the things you usually do with no trouble. 
  • In the yellow zone, also called the “my asthma is getting worse” zone, you start to feel like your asthma is getting worse. For example, you might cough, wheeze, feel tight in the chest, or have trouble breathing. Your asthma could also be getting worse if it wakes you up at night or makes it hard for you to do the things you usually do.
  • If you are in the red zone, also called the “medical alert” zone, you should call your doctor or get medical care right away. If you’re in the red zone, you’ll find it hard to breathe, your quick-relief medicines won’t help, and you won’t be able to do the things you usually do.
Female doctor high-fiving a child asthma patient sitting on her mother's lap
My daughter isn’t afraid to pay a visit here

properly documenting Medications

As I mentioned, your asthma action plan should include the medications you are currently taking to treat your asthma. With every medication, you should include the dosage of each medication and when to take it. Both factors will be dependent on which asthma zone you are in.

What to do in an asthma emergency

You should make sure that you accurately give instructions on what to do in an emergency or when you’re in the red zone. This includes listing telephone numbers for:

  • Parents (if this is a child’s asthma action plan)
  • Primary care/family medicine doctor
  • Emergency department 
  • Any other person designated as an emergency contact

Where do I store my Asthma Action Plan? Who should have access to it? 

Since asthma action plans are usually made for kids so that people around them know what to look for in terms of their symptoms. If your child has an action plan, you will need to give copies of it to the school nurse, teachers, and anyone else who is in charge of caring for your child.

It’s important to tell the people you see every day about your action plan, but it’s even more important to always keep a copy of your action plan with you, along with your medications. So, if there is a problem, people will know what to do and what to expect.

Asthma, immunology and allergy specialist Reena Patel, DO
Medically Reviewed By: Reena Patel, DO
Reviewed on: Nov. 15, 2022

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Every asthma action plan is personalized and can be a clear reminder of what was discussed between you and your doctor. Let us help you create your unique plan today.

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