An asthma action plan
is a set of instructions that you create with your doctor to help you control your
asthma. Following the plan can help you prevent flare-ups
and deal with them if they do happen.
Having a written, step-by-step plan means that you don't have to memorize everything
your doctor tells you about managing asthma. You can keep a copy with you at all times
or memorize key parts of it.
The plan can help you make sure your asthma doesn't get in the way of playing sports,
working out, going to parties, or doing whatever you want to do. Make it work for
What's in the Asthma Action Plan?
Asthma varies from person to person, so there isn't a one-size-fits-all asthma
action plan. But all action plans will say what to do if you have a flare-up. The
plan also will explain what
medicines you need to take and when, and when you need to call the doctor or go
to the ER.
If you use a peak flow
meter, the action plan's color system makes it easy to figure out which instructions
apply to you. The "zone system" is based on the colors of a traffic light. They use
symptoms (and peak flow readings) to help you decide what zone your asthma is in:
The green zone, or safety zone, explains how to manage your asthma every day,
when you're feeling good.
The yellow zone, or caution zone, explains how to look for signs that your asthma
is getting worse. It also says which medicines to use to bring your asthma
back under control.
The red zone, or danger zone, explains what to do when a flare-up is severe.
You'll want to put your "personal best" peak flow reading on the plan so you'll
have something to compare the new numbers with.
For your asthma action plan to work, you have to follow it even when you feel OK.
Review the plan with your doctor and make sure you understand it. Talk with your doctor
if you have ideas for making the plan work better for you. For example, your doctor
might change the time of day that you take your asthma medicine so it fits into your