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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.
An asthma action plan usually includes:
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.
An asthma action plan has three zones. You can find out what zone you are in by checking your peak flow or symptoms. Peak flow is a measure of how much air you breathe out when you exhale. You check your peak flow with a peak flow meter, an inexpensive device that you can use at home. Your doctor can show you how to use it.
The zones of an asthma action plan(What is a PDF document?) are based on the colors of a stoplight.
Green means Go.
Yellow means Caution.
Red means DANGER.
How can using an asthma action plan help me?
An asthma action plan tells you how to treat an asthma attack early, before it becomes severe. The plan also will tell you what to do if an attack becomes an emergency and where to get medical treatment.
Continue to Why?
Using an asthma action plan takes the guesswork out of treating asthma attacks. It can help you to:
An asthma action plan makes me more dependent on my doctor for help.
An asthma action plan can help you take control of your treatment and be more independent. It shows you how to treat asthma attacks, so it can help you avoid going to the doctor's office or the hospital.
Continue to How?
After I make an asthma action plan, I never need to change it.
An action plan may need to be adjusted over time to give you the best control over your symptoms. Each time you see your doctor, take your plan and your asthma diary and discuss how well treatment is working to prevent or control asthma attacks.
Continue to Where?
If you have questions about this information, take it with you when you visit your doctor. Make notes about what you would like to ask about or discuss.
If you would like more information on asthma, the following resource is available:
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) provides information and support for people who have allergies or asthma. The AAFA has local chapters and support groups. And its Web site has online resources, such as fact sheets, brochures, and newsletters, both free and for purchase.
Now that you have read this information, you are ready to start using an asthma action plan. For related information, see:
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Last Revised: March 14, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: John Pope, MD - Pediatrics & Lora J. Stewart, MD - Allergy and Immunology
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