If you are one of the millions of Americans dealing with asthma on a day-to-day basis, then you probably already know that having a management plan (or asthma action plan) can help considerably when it comes to managing your physical well-being. For those who have never heard of an asthma action plan, it is basically a written plan or file where all of your medical information is stored, including which asthma medications you are currently taking and what steps need to be taken during an emergency situation.
Everyone with asthma can benefit from having an action plan, but this is especially true for children. By conferring with a physician, you can easily develop a plan that is right for your needs or that of your child’s. And with these important details in place, you can greatly reduce asthma flare-ups and possible emergency room visits. Maintain your plan by keeping it updated with any changes and make copies to give the proper authorities at your child’s school or daycare.
The Zone System
Most of the asthma action plans currently available on-line and through medical specialists incorporate the “zone system”, using the colors green, yellow, and red, to explain different peaks or symptoms. Simply put, green is for non-emergency situations, yellow is for an asthma flare-up that steadily gets worse over time, and red is for those occasions when a flare-up becomes critical. Continue reading for more detailed information on each stage of the zone system:
Green = Good: This part of the zone system explains in detail how a patient should manage their asthma on a daily basis while they are feeling well. For an asthma sufferer, this is the optimum zone to be in because it means they are breathing easy and aren’t showing any outward signs of trouble, like wheezing and coughing. They can perform their everyday activities with no problem and they are able to get a good night’s sleep.
Yellow = Caution: The yellow area of the zone system contains the steps that need to be taken if you or your child start presenting the early signs of an asthma flare-up. Symptoms can include shortness of breath, wheezing, sleeping difficulty, and a tight feeling in the chest. Regular treatment is usually administered and a physician will include instructions on the plan that describe what you should do if the medicine hasn’t helped you or your child return to the “green zone” within a specific amount of time. This usually means a call to the doctor’s office or a repeat dosing of medication.
Red = Danger: If you or your child begin to experience such tell-tale signs as heavy breathing, difficulty walking, or inability to talk, then you should contact your child’s doctor or have a loved one make the call for you, if you are unable to do it yourself. If the situation is critical, then you should forego the call to your doctor and dial 911 instead or have someone drive you straight to the emergency room.